VE Day event ideas
Image credit: Kolforn-Wikimedia
This year, the first bank holiday in May has been moved
from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May to mark the 75th anniversary of
VE Day in World War II, when fighting between the Allies and Nazi
Germany stopped in Europe. In honour of VE Day, here are five
suggestions for events to commemorate this special
School street party
One of the most iconic images of VE Day is of revellers
celebrating in the streets. Hold a street party in your playground
with lines of tables covered with cloths. Either lay on a
rationing-style meal with spam sandwiches or invite attendees to
bring a dish. Open it up to the local community to bring people
together. Provide entertainment with music, games and a
Fair and parade
Parade were held across the country on VE Day. If you want to
organise your own, why not combine it with a 40s fair? Invite
visitors to attend and parade in fancy dress. At the fair, set up
classic games, such as tin can alley and award tokens in pounds,
shillings and pence, which can be exchanged for prizes. Hold
planting activities with a 'dig for victory' theme. Stop for the
three-minute silence at 3pm.
During VE Day, dance halls stayed open until midnight, so turn
your school hall into the venue for a 40s dance. Organise a shindig
for adults with a bar, live music and dressing up. Hold dance
lessons at the event to get everyone waltzing and jiving away. If
all else fails, did you know revellers congaed through the streets
on VE Day?
History in the classroom
Organise a history day at the school. Invite local veterans to
speak and challenge pupils to create a newspaper page announcing
the end of the war. Make your event even more fun by inviting
pupils to dress up, and hold activities such as cooking a rationed
meal, tasting 1940s foods and playing traditional games. Create a
display in the hall using the finished newspaper articles to raise
awareness throughout the school.
Plan a World War II art display inspired by propaganda posters
and display the results at your school. Host an open evening where
you can play wartime music (or have a live singer) and sell tea and
cakes. Parents could even buy the designs afterwards.
Tips and advice
Flags and bunting
On VE day it was announced that people could purchase red, white
and blue bunting without using ration coupons, so use copious
amounts at your event! For a make-do-and-mend twist, make the
bunting out of old school uniform if yours is one of those
Invite people to come dressed in 1940s attire to your events.
Collect clothes before the event and hold a sale for those who
don't have anything to wear.
Games and activities
Crack out traditional games such as cards, marbles, dice and
jacks. To bring everyone together, how about a wartime singalong?
Teach pupils the songs beforehand or hand out lyric sheets for
everyone to follow.
1940s and wartime compilation playlists are available on
Spotify. CDs are cheap to buy and are commonly found in charity
shops. To add some real pizazz, hire a live jazz band. Check
licensing requirements for music played at events.
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