How to organise a St. George celebration.
We want to help local Councils and other groups celebrate St. George's Day (click here to read Councillors testimonials), so we have produced a list of celebrations that have worked well in the past. Hopefully this will give you some idea of what you could do on 23 April.
Some of the ideas cost nothing and most are affordable within a modest budget.
1) Morris Dancing
April 23 is a busy time for Morris Dancers so book them early to avoid disappointment, or even better organise your own 'amateur' Morris Dancers. More information can be found at www.themorrisring.org
2) Mummers Play
The earliest written records of Mummers Plays date back to the mid 18th Century, but it is likely they have a much earlier origin. The principle characters are normally St. George, a Dragon, a Doctor and... (wait for it)... Father Christmas (?!).
Two examples of Mummers Play scripts can be found here (1852 script) and here (1935 script).
3) Town Twinning with St. George
There are many towns and countries overseas who also have St. George as their Patron Saint - from Portugal to Palestine. Towns in England could twin with towns who share our Patron Saint and learn about how they celebrate 23 April.
4) Charity Dinner
Tomato Soup, Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, Rhubarb Pie and Custard, Cheddar Cheese and Biscuits. Whatever your favourite English menu a Charity Dinner (hosted by the Mayor?) could raise funds for local charities and raise awareness of St. George's Day.
5) English Tea Dance
Given the success of 'Strictly Come Dancing' on the BBC this should be popular with young and old. Invite a dance teacher to teach some of the young ones and marvel at the dance moves of the older generation. And for energy... a nice cup of tea with cream cakes.
6) Mayor's Toast to England
Simple but a great piece of publicity. The Mayor stands on the steps of the town hall and reads a 'Toast to England', followed by a drink of English Apple Juice, Mead or English Beer. Very low cost but will get coverage in the local papers and maybe TV.
There is currently no World Record for the largest number of people to resite Shakespeare's famous St. George speech (Henry V - Act III, Scene I):
"I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'"
The Mayor could lead the assembled crowd in a recital and get your Council in the Guinness Book of Records.
7) English Roses
Arrange for a local Garden Centre to hand out red roses outside the Town Hall. Great publicity for them and the local Council. Or arrange for them to be sold at a local shopping centre and all the proceeds go to charity.
8) School Play
Adapt the story of St George and the Dragon for a school play. One of the original stories ('The Seven Champions' by Richard Johnson, 1596) can be downloaded here.
9) Children's Painting Competition
Which school or child can paint the best Dragon or the best St. George. The prize could be a simple certificate given by the Mayor or gift tokens. The paintings could be auctioned among parents for charity, or displayed at a local shopping centre.
We have free St. George colouring sheets which can be downloaded by clicking here.
10) English Farmers Market
Buying local produce is the most environmentally friendly way to purchase food. Local produce has the lowest carbon footprint because it requires minimal transport and is guaranteed fresh. It's a great way to support local English framers and remind people of England's food heritage.
11) Church Bell Ringing
Arrange for the local Church Bells to be rung at mid-day. Will get good press coverage and makes a magnificent sound.
12) English Brass Band
Arrange for the Salvation Army or other Brass Band to play traditional English tunes at the local shopping centre or other high traffic area. A collection could also be held for a local charity.
13) English Sausages and Bacon
Arrange for local butcher(s) to hand out samples of good English Sausages or Bacon Sandwiches. Great way to promote local independent shops.
14) Scouts Parade
St. George is the Patron Saint of Scouts. Most Scout Groups organise a celebration on 23 April, and you could add your support by agreeing to take part in a parade or other Scout event.
15) Charity Football, Cricket or Rugby Match
Pub vs pub or local firm vs council, whatever the two sides its a great way to celebrate England's contribution to world sport. Teams pay to enter or a collection is made from the crowd, and all proceeds go to charity.
16) Dragon Slaying
St George fights the Dragon in your local High Street! An amateur dramatic society could put on a play or simply roam the streets in mock battle. One group of actors did the play on stilts which looked fantastic.
17) Handing out St George Flags or Shopping Bags
Small English flags could be handed out to shoppers in your area, or recycled paper shopping bags with a Cross of St George on the front (to help promote the Council's recycle message).
18) Charity Quiz Night
Anyone can do this - pub, school, care home, church, library. Quiz sheets for adults and children will be available here soon.
19) Medieval Re-enactment
There are many medieval re-enactment societies across England. Invite them to demonstrate in your area so that people can witness their country's history first hand.
20) Decorate Bus Stops or Shelters
Simple but effective. People can spend a lot of time at bus stops and in shelters, so decorate them in red and white bunting or England flags to get the message across that it's St. George's Day.
21) St George Faceboards
We have developed a low-cost but highly effective to promote St. George. The St. George Faceboards are life size cartoons with a hole where members of the public put their head through. They become St. George or the Princess and have their photo taken. For further details click here (.pdf format, size 266kb)
22) English Archery
English Archers were the most feared in all the world. Re-live the great victories of Crecy and Agincourt by organising a fun archery display or competition. Local archery groups can be found at www.englisharcheryfederation.org or www.efaafieldarcher.com
23) Office Jousting
A piece of rope, two office chairs and a flag. That's all you need for office jousting (plus a bit of bravery). Performed outdoors, the 'knights' line up on either side of the rope with the flag tied in the middle. On the word 'go' they speed towards the flag while sitting on the chairs. First to the flag wins.
24) Darts Competition
Darts was originally created by English Archers who threw arrow heads at the bottom of wooden beer barrels. It's as popular now as it was then. Organise an amateur 'open-air' darts competition, perhaps linked with a beer tent and real ale.
25) Shakespeare Play
There's no doubt that Shakespeare is England's greatest playwright, known all over the world. He was born and died on 23 April and is therefore closely linked with St. George's Day.
Readings in libraries, amateur plays in the park or a Shakespeare quiz - all to remember his birth and death on England's national day.
26) Full English Breakfast
What better way to start the 23 April celebrations than with a Full English Breakfast. The council could support local High Street shops by organising a photo shoot of the Mayor in a local Cafe, or a group of local Cafes in the area could organise a special 'St. George Breakfast'.
27) Bunting in the High Street
A simple but effective way to attract shoppers away from the big 'out of town' shopping centres and into the High Street. Local traders may contribute to the cost if they feel it is well publicised.
The bunting does not have to be flags. One High Street had England football and rugby shirts 'pegged' to a washing line across the road.
28) English Hog Roast
A medieval favourite and great tasting food. Can be linked to other medieval events (Tudor Dance or Jousting) and there are many company's that will provide the equipment, staff and food.
29) Punch & Judy show
The first written record of a Punch & Judy show comes from Samuel Pepys's diary dated 9 May,1662 (now widely regarded as Punch's birthday). The show is a well established part of the English seaside and still loved by children of all ages. Details of Punch & Judy performers can be found at www.punchandjudy.com
30) Fun Run
There are already a number of Fun Run's on St. George's Day, and running or jogging is now firmly established as part of English culture. Organise your own Fun Run to celebrate England's National Day. Most Fun Run's charge a few pounds for the runners to enter and the proceeds can go to charity, the distance is normally 5k (3 miles) or 10k (6 miles).
31) Dragon Hunt
Great fun for parents with young children. Dragon posters are placed in a park, shopping centre or High Street and the kids are given clues to the location. If they get all the locations correct they win a small 'goody bag' of sweets. Simple, but great fun.
32) Beer Festival with CAMRA
England boasts many fine ales and has a great brewing tradition. The Campaign for Real Ale has promoted English ales over many years and has the expertise to help you organise a successful English Ale event, details from www.camra.org.uk
33) 'Nine Mens Morris' Game
A simple, but fun, old English game for two players which was popular in medieval England. The game is quick to learn and fast to play. A copy of the game and the rules will be available here soon.
34) English Sports Day
Organise a typical English Sports Day with Three Legged Race, Wheelbarrow Race, Egg & Spoon Race or Sack Race. Great fun for all ages and you don't have to be Paula Radcliffe to win!
35) Dog Show
The English have always loved animals, and what better way to celebrate St. George's Day than with a dog show. It doesn't have to be Crufts - indeed, making it open to all types of dog will make it more popular.
36) Flower Show
Another great English love is gardening, and April is a great month to show off those Spring flowers. The show can add a splash of colour to small country villages and urban concrete jungles.
37) Historic Local Walk
Discover English history on your local doorstep. Organise a local walk to highlight famous people and places in your local area, and tell a story of how the area has changed over the years.
38) St. George at the Library
The library is a perfect place to highlight England's literary heritage. As well as reading St. George and the Dragon stories to children (download here), you can also promote great English writers such as Shakespeare,
39) 'Happy St. George's Day' posters
Very simple, but an effective way to promote this special day. Display the posters in shop windows, on Council notice boards, in Libraries - anywhere that people congregate.
Posters will be available here soon.
40) 'St. George's Day' bunting
We are producing unique St. George's Day bunting that includes English icons. These will be available for decorating your event soon.
41) Children's 'Town Crier' Competition
Children love to make noise, so channel that into a competition to select the loudest Town Crier. Dating back to medieval time, Criers were used to tell the town that all was well, or to announce a warning.
42) Medieval Street Entertainers
A very popular way to celebrate England's National Day - Fools, Jugglers, Stilt Walkers and battling Knights, a traditional part of medieval celebrations. Further details at www.medieval-entertainers.co.uk or just use Google to find entertainers in your local area.
43) Falconry Display
It was reputedly the favourite sport of every King of England between Alfred the Great to George III. Now everyone can enjoy these magnificent birds. Google 'Falconry Displays' to find your local supplier.
44) English Crafts Market
The English are a very skillful race and our crafts date back many centuries. Organise a Crafts Market and give local traders the opportunity to show their skills.
45) English Cream Tea
Always popular; Yorkshire tea, English scones, Devon clotted cream and Kent Strawberry jam. Local venues, such as Churches, Community Centres and even Sports Halls, could be turned into an English tea room for the day.
46) English Folk Music
Create a great atmosphere with traditional English Folk music. The tradition dates back centuries and is on the crest of a revival as people become more interested in English culture. Visit www.folkarts-england.org for more details.
47) St. George and the 3 Cs
St. George is associated with the characteristics of Courage, Chivalry and Charity (known as the 3 Cs).
Invite people to join the local Mayor in completing the 3 Cs on St. George's Day. Each person decides on their own personal goals - for Courage they could hold a spider, for Chivalry they could give a rose to their partner, and for Charity they could do a sponsored walk.
Whatever they do, the results could be published in the local paper along with the Mayor's efforts
We hope the above has given you food for thought. If we can be of any further assistance please don't hesitate to get in touch. We are here to help.