Mid-Atlantic Air Museum - WWII Weekend

My family and I were excited to make it out to the WWII weekend up in Reading, PA a couple weeks ago. We made the mistake of leaving around 9 am for the 2 hour drive and got there in the thick of the heat and the crowds. Once we finally made it onto the shuttle from the parking lot to the airfield and got into the event, it was non-stop 1940s awesomeness! I seriously didn't know where to look or go first. (Warning! Lots of pictures ahead! haha!)

Right past the gate, we walked into this little French village set-up. No one was speaking French that I could hear, but there were American soldiers everywhere including in this little restaurant. Inside it was filled with reenactors and I think they were actually dispensing drinks in there!

In the French village there was a soldier's barracks, a auto shop/house that was decked out to the hilt with period household items. I had a little time warp moment because the radio was playing '40s music as well. So awesome. There were quite a few outbuildings that I think are there permanently.

Cafe Napoleon 

Inside the auto shop/house. I love the stack of Coke bottles.
See the radio high up on the shelf? It was awesome that they had
'40s music playing on it!

Besides the French village, they had, a German camp (I'm pretty sure), a Soviet camp (located next to the machine gun shooting range! - another freaky time warp moment hearing the machine guns going off in the background the whole time), and a Japanese outpost.

Japanese outpost.
I love that they stuck bamboo into the ground to add to the "atmosphere".
They had bamboo stuck all over the place, actually. So fun!

There were dozens upon dozens of original, restored airplanes, even a Japanese plane. Because it's an airfield, they had them taking off to fly and land all day long. It was really cool! The highlight was when this airplane took off loaded with WWII reenactor paratroopers and they parachuted out of the plane!
"The Tinkerbell"

You can see the plane at the bottom of the photo.
Look at all those parachutes!

B-29? I can't remember now, but this airplane's engines had the most
incredible sound. I could listen to that plane all day, which is pretty weird for me!

There were so many tents set up in different camps. There were quite a few soldier's shower facilities throughout the camps, i.e. a line of 55 gallon metal drums filled with water and scrub brushes complete with pipes/heaters to heat the water. I don't know if they were just for show or functional use!

hee hee!

Can you read the sign??
Sheesh! :-o

I loved seeing all the reenactors dressed up. Some of the outfits were "typical" 1940s, but there were quite a few women that put a lot of effort into their outfits. I saw quite a few in uniform, a couple dressed in trousers, but most in various styles of dresses, hats, and sunglasses. I even saw one woman dressed as a pin-up girl which was a bit awkward...

I was especially thrilled to see kids dressed in '40s clothes. I'd love to go next year with our whole family dressed 40's style!
They look like they're having fun.
I'm a bit jealous myself! haha!

I absolutely love that he's got a ukelele.
I'm sure there was some authentic 1940s flirting going on here! haha!

"Female Personnel Only"
I think this was a nurse's tent. When I peeked inside I was so thrilled she was painting her nails!
How apprpriate!

I was saving the best for last. :-) My absolute favorite part of this event was "Main Street" put on by the local Victory Society. They did a fabulous job! In each section of this airplane hanger they had a different set-up. In the first one was an entire house laid out including kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room, and bedroom!
Part of the kitchen

I didn't get a picture of the whole kitchen, so this is the one taken by the Victory Society. You can check out their facebook page here.
(taken by The Victory Society)

I love the stove! So cute!

Impressive bathroom!

Okay, it's pink, but I love this couch!
We recently bought a couch that looks very similar to this, just with different arms.
Oh, and it's not pink! ;-)

My kids enjoying a marble racing tower.
I really appreciated that they had some 1940s toys out to play with.

Next door was a 1940s "department store" where they were actually selling vintage 1940s clothing, books, magazines, jewelry, etc. (I bought myself a 1942 McCall's magazine. Yippee!)

Next to that they had a whole radio drama stage set up with vintage mikes and everything. They had several performances going on during the day. We walked by as they were performing a Superman show. So fun!

Next door to that was a movie theater. The tickets were free, so we reserved our tickets and came back for the show. They were selling popcorn and drinks to support the society and showed I think 1/2 an hours worth of film shorts including cartoons.

Last on Main Street was the gas station! I was so impressed with this. The reenactor/member of the Victory Society had me sit in the vintage car while she led my son around and explained how 1940s gas stations provided full service. She had him act out wiping down the car, checking the oil, checking the air pressure in the tires, and fill up the car with gas.

They had a replica of a gas ration card & stamps on the seat that I handed to them. She explained how the gas ration stamps worked and that he had to make sure my car registration # matched the one on my ration card so I wasn't trying to steal someone else's gas. They were really strict about that gas rationing - it was no joke! They even calculated out the cost of gas together and I paid them with money that was also on the seat (which was real! haha!). The whole thing was awesome, and I know my son is going to remember that for a long time. Five stars for that wonderful lady taking the time!

Gulf Gas Station. I learned a lot about gas ration stamps, as did my son!

And finally, one of the coolest finds of the day - a woman with a tent, amidst the sea of reenactor's tents, that was teaching people about V-Mail. I had just been doing research about V-Mail for my book, having learned about it recently. So, I was excited she had put this together! She had original V-Mail you could look at along with the forms they would have had to fill out, envelopes the mail would come in, and that super cool poster. I really wanted to chat with her longer, but we had to hurry over to our movie at the theater. Then I couldn't find the tent later. :-( I really wanted to talk to her some more or at least get her contact info. Oh well. 

V-Mail tent

Original V-Mail.
I'll be doing a post about V-Mail soon, I think!
It's really fascinating!

This event was really amazing. I'm sure it was so huge partly because it's the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. I really didn't know what to expect when we headed out there, but I was blown away!

(One thing I did not expect, though I shouldn't have been surprised, was the depictions of scantily clad women (pin-up girls) on so many of the airplanes, hanging in the reenactor's tents, at the vendor's tents, and even in one of the film shorts they showed. I realize it's one of those things about that time, but still it was a shock, especially having our kids with us. So, something to definitely be prepared for if you have the chance to go to an event like this.)

Oh, and bring your own toilet paper! Nearly all the port-a-potties were out. That was terrible, but there really were so many people there. We ended up walking all the way back to our car because the line to the shuttle back to the parking was so, so long. It was quite the hike, but our kids were little troopers! :-)

I definitely look forward to going again, and boy I wish Reading, PA was closer! I would so join up with that Victory Society! :-D

P.S. Note to self for next time: save up your spending money. The vendor tents had amazing stuff. I was totally drooling all over the place. *sigh*! haha!

A very sunburnt me chilling inside the super awesome old car.
I totally wanted to drive that thing.


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