The Harrogate Christmas Market has been hailed a success following a review by the organisers.
Around 80,000 are estimated as having visited the market this year between 15 and 18 November 2018.
The organising team met for a review meeting, looking at how well the market went and what it did for the town.
A key aspect of the meeting is bring foot-fall to the town and business to local retailers. The group had spoken to many local retailers who report a significant increase in trade.
A big change for this year was the extra security measures, including physical concrete barriers, the closure of Montpellier for most vehicles and a much greater police presence.
In-line with other events, people reported seeing armed police as both re-assuring and concerning in broadly equal numbers.
The group acknowledged the support of the Co-op, who had 12 staff supporting the event, they are keen to do that next year.
The exhibitors had returned feedback analysis and the response was overwhelmingly good, with some commenting that it was the best Christmas Market that they went to. It is know for providing a great deal of support with a team of Market Makers around from set-up to clear-up.
There are always areas to improve. Mention was made to a very overcrowded WiFi network and the difficult in obtaining a channel, WiFi is used for payment systems and they use a temporary mast.
People bringing dogs to the market was discouraged. Dogs and pushchairs can be a problem at very busy times. Discussion was made around the possibility of a pushchair park and more seating areas for people eating food.
The closure of Montpellier had some teething issues, but overall worked well.
16 skips were used and the clean-up went well with little damage to the ground.
Simon J Cotton, Managing Director of the HRH Group (Yorkshire Hotel, Fat Badger and White Hart) said:
Once again the HRH Group were delighted to see a packed and busy Christmas market in Harrogate this year and our businesses, especially The Fat Badger again benefitted from the huge influx of people that come to the Harrogate Christmas Market each year.
Talking to both Stall Holders/Traders and also the visiting public we were impressed by the amount of positive feedback and buzz that the market creates and how many repeat visitors there are purely because of the Christmas market.
Interestingly, the demand for hotel bedrooms was one of the strongest seen over the winter months and our research shows how many visitors are now staying over and spending time seeing other parts of the town and local area which is all fantastic for our local economy; long may it continue!
The opening hours are likely to be extended. Food sales tend to do better in the later part of the day while craft sales can tail off in the evening. But on the Christmas Light switch on night, more time was needed for people walking down from the switch on event – there was only about 30 minutes for them at the Market.
The location was once again discussed. The group acknowledged that it was often commented up, as a group, they supported the current location as it worked the best for the event and other locations just wouldn’t work.
The event relies on the support from a wide range of individuals, often giving their time for free.
Special mention must be made to Brian and Beryl Dunsby, and Steve and Sue Scarre. Without their time the event wouldn’t happen.
All feedback is welcome, completing the form below will send your comments directly to the organisers.