I recently attended a forties themed war weekend in Pickering, North Yorkshire. I had heard about this annual event before but I hadn't realised quite how popular it was. I went with my boyfriend and his sister and we all decided to dress up for the occasion – I am definitely glad we did as I think we'd have felt a little silly had we not done.
Pickering War Weekend takes place every October and the whole town steps back in time and is given a makeover. All the local businesses get involved and dress up their windows with blackout tape and war themed displays. We popped into a local eatery that had altered its menu for the weekend and were serving up wartime favourite meals.
There are stalls and flea markets selling all manner of vintage goods and as you can imagine there were a lot of fur items, most of which came with their faces, tails and paws still attached. I am all for authenticity but I just could not bring myself to wear something with a face or a tiny waving paw.
It was so incredible to see everyone dressed up to the nines and there were some pretty impressive costumes from Winston Churchill to American airmen, oh and even Hercule Poirot made an appearance. It was lovely to see that even children were dressed in traditional forties clothing with the all important gas mask and name tag tied up with string around their neck. If men in uniform are your thing then you definitely would not have been disappointed, the streets were lined with airmen, sailors and soldiers too all waiting to steal a kiss from a pretty young nurse or landgirl.
The weekend itself is free though there are several events you can pay to attend. We paid a mere pound to gain entry to the station platform to watch the old steam engines puff their way through. On the platform too there was a speech made by Churchill, singing, dancing and even an air raid with authentic explosions and the “shooting down” of enemy planes. While we were in the station we were photographed to death by event photographers and enthusiasts, I can honestly say that I have never felt famous before that day but they just kept on taking photographs. The event went on into the evening where you could pay to attend a dance with a live band in the local sports hall and listen to well known war time songs such as George Formby's When I'm Cleaning Windows in the church hall – you could even set up camp with the service men and women not too far from the town centre.
We have decided to go again next year (yes this has already been in discussion) and we are going to go all out costume wise – I am already trawling ebay and my local thrift stores for the perfect costume. The entire day we attended was so much fun and there is just so much to do for the whole family - definitely a must see if you're in the area.