Bookings have opened for the fourth annual Harrogate Christmas Market – and places are already being snapped up.
Organisers were surprised to receive their first completed application within half an hour of opening bookings. A few hours later, four more completed forms arrived and, in just a week, 28 had been received.
Brian Dunsby, who leads the organising committee along with his wife, Beryl, said: “Harrogate Christmas Market has been growing rapidly in popularity since the first one took place in 2012.
“We had a lot of enquiries from traders following the 2014 event, so we knew we would get a good response when bookings opened. However, to sell our first five stalls within just a few hours was more than we expected. We are really pleased that traders are so keen to join us that they will sign up and pay in full more than six months in advance.
“It’s testament to the fantastic team of volunteers who organise Harrogate Christmas Market and the hard work they put in throughout the year.
“The event has become more successful than many commercial markets, but it is still run on a not-for-profit basis and we donate any surplus made to good causes and not-for-profit events which support the local economy and attract tourists to Harrogate.”
As in previous years, the Christmas Market will focus on products and produce from around Yorkshire, with an emphasis on home-made, hand-made and fairly-traded items. There will be a mix of stalls selling food, gifts, home decorations, accessories and more.
The popular Food & Drink and Craft & Gift marquees will return, and for the first time this year, a Health & Beauty Marquee will be introduced. There will also be children’s fairground rides, live music from local buskers, and Santa in his grotto with real reindeer outside.
Last year’s Christmas Market attracted an estimated 52,000 visitors, many of whom also went into the town centre to visit local shops, cafés, restaurants, bars and other attractions. The response from local businesses was overwhelmingly positive, with some saying they had their busiest ever weekend of trading.
This year, Harrogate Christmas Market takes place from Thursday, November 19 to Sunday, November 22. Although many traders from previous years are returning for 2015, the organisers are keen to hear from any local businesses which have not taken part before.
“We want to make Harrogate Christmas Market unique, by offering a good mix of Yorkshire region products to suit all ages,” said Mr Dunsby.
“The interest in this year’s event has been higher than ever and we expect to sell out long before the Christmas Market opens. If any businesses from around the region are thinking of joining us this year, we strongly recommend they get in touch as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”