Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market Festival - CANCELLED
Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council have taken the decision to cancel this year's popular Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
We plan to be back in 2021 on 9 - 12 December!
The market, which attracts around 125,000 visitors to the town, marks the start of the festive season in Stratford along with the Christmas Lights switch on and Thursday Christmas markets.
Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council says: "Under delegated powers, I have made a Leader's decision to cancel this year's Stratford Victorian Christmas Market. It's not a decision that's been taken lightly, but given the new Government guidance together with the ongoing public health emergency, it is the most sensible decision to make.
"Christmas will look a little different this year, but we look forward to seeing the market return in 2021."
Cllr Ian Shenton, Operations Portfolio with responsibility for markets says: "It is with much regret that we are cancelling the 2020 Stratford Victorian Christmas Market. With other Christmas Markets being cancelled for 2020, we have been receiving an increase in enquiries from national coach companies looking to bring day trippers to the event. With the possibility of large numbers of visitors coming to Stratford-upon-Avon to attend the Christmas Market, it was felt the town would not be able to comply with Government guidance and making it near impossible to observe social distancing.
"Although the market operator could provide a risk assessment and some COVID secure measures within the market stalls, the sheer numbers of visitors potentially attending would make it very difficult to provide assurance on compliance with social distancing measures within the town.
"This would have been the events fourth year and visitor numbers have been growing over the last three years; last year attracting in the region of 125,000 visitors. This market has proved to be an important event for the town itself, where town centre retail have benefitted from the increased footfall and sales, but look forward to its return in 2021."
Cllr Kevin Taylor, Chairman of the Markets Forum said: "Of course this is a disappointment for us all, particularly as our market was going from strength to strength and is now one of the top go to Christmas Market destinations in the country. However, safety has to be the first priority and the Town Council fully concurs with the decision to cancel this year's event."
- The dates for this year's event were planned for 10 to 13 December 2020.
- It is held within the main streets of the town centre of Stratford-upon Avon.
- The event was first held in 2017 and has increased in popularity with 125,000 visitors attending the 2019 event.
The 2017 event...
There was much merriment and festive cheer at the inaugural Victorian Christmas Festival which the Town Council co-hosted with Stratford-on-Avon District Council and LSD Promotions. The town thrived over what should have been a three day period, Friday 8, Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December. Unfortunately, due to really adverse weather conditions, it was with great regret that the Festival on Sunday had to be cancelled due to heavy snow.
However, all was far from lost as the visitor numbers on Saturday were 64% higher than the same Saturday last year (28,268 vs 17,226 in 2016). Footfall around town was just over 30,000 on the same day in 2016, compared to almost 58,000 this year. That’s a 91% increase in footfall across the town compared to the same Saturday last year.
This new and exciting festive Victorian Christmas event with a Dickensian theme featured traditional gift & craft markets, street food stalls, vintage fun fair rides, and a plethora of street and staged entertainment supported by both amateurs and professionals.
Throughout Friday and Saturday, over 200 face to face feedback surveys were carried out. Visitors thought that there was a great variety of stalls and that the overall atmosphere was fantastic. Without exception, every interviewee said they would definitely come again next year. Gratifyingly, all had visited shops, cafes, restaurants or pubs whilst in the town.
The Town and District Councils had cause for celebration at the Pride of Stratford Awards in February 2019 when, in association with market operator, LSD Promotions, we collected the award for Tourism Initiative of the Year 2018 for the Victorian Christmas Market Festival.
The Festival brought numbers in excess of 102,000 people into Stratford-upon-Avon during the weekend, many of whom were new visitors to the town.
The visitors thronged the town, and the market, shops, cafés and restaurants thrived throughout the weekend. There was definitely a social media buzz during and after the event and we were pleased to see so many favourable comments, particularly the Facebook review claiming that it was “the best Christmas Market we have visited”.