SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — A U.S. Navy boat know as the “Battleship of Presidents” hosted a dockside festival at the Los Angeles Waterfront in San Pedro in honor of the Presidents Day holiday.
The Battleship IOWA was first commissioned Feb. 22, 1943, becoming the first ship of her class to be commissioned by the United States.
She later became famous for having hosted three Presidents – Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush – along with numerous dignitaries during almost 70 years of service.
The IOWA escorted President Roosevelt for 22 days in 1943; he even had a wheelchair accessible bathroom and bathtub installed. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan boarded and George H. W. Bush boarded twice, once as Vice President and once as President, CBS2’s Louisa Hodge reported.
In honor of the Battleship IOWA’s 72nd birthday, City Councilman Joe Buscaino joined veterans and other officials for a celebration that included live jazz and swing music by “The Big Butter Jazz Band” along with swing dancing lessons.
Presidential impersonators were also on hand, along with vintage vehicles, a WWII shooting gallery, face painting, food trucks, and a fully stocked Sailor’s Bar.
The festival is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.