Stratford’s Victorian Christmas Market will be extended this year, but two of the town’s regular Thursday Christmas markets will be dropped as part of an overhaul of the town’s festive calendar.
The Victorian Market has already been shifted one week closer to Christmas this year, but the move to extend the event by a day and cancel the two Thursday Christmas markets in the weeks immediately before and after it, has been welcomed by director of Stratforward BID Joe Baconnet.
There will now only be a Thursday market on the day of the Christmas Lights Switch On, on 26th November, while the Victorian Christmas Market will run from Thursday 10th December until Sunday 13th December.
Mr Baconnet said: “I think this is a good compromise for the town and for businesses, the Thursday markets were not doing what they should have been in terms of trade.
“It’s all about putting people on the streets of Stratford and I think dropping the Thursday markets is a good move and by in large the Victorian Market has been well-received. I believe this shift plays to our strengths and I think businesses will be OK with it.”
More than 123,000 people were estimated to have visited the Victorian Christmas Market last year, rising from 58,000 in 2017 when the event was first held.
There are plans for around 300 stalls at this year’s event, with stallholders once again expected to do Victorian costumes.
Sarah Summers, Town Clerk for Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council, said: “Last year’s Victorian Markets were our most successful yet, with an incredible number of visitors coming to enjoy the festivities.
“Following the feedback we received, the Town and District Councils Market Forum has decided to extend the markets so that everyone can enjoy four full days of festive entertainment and Christmas shopping with our local traders.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming people of all ages back to another special long weekend of festivities.”
Cllr Ian Shenton, Operations Portfolio Holder at Stratford-on-Avon District Council, added: “The increasing success of the Christmas Victorian Markets has seen over 123,000 visitors head to Stratford for 2019’s event, which is a wonderful achievement.
“Each year, this is a key event for bringing visitors to the region and the economic impact is significant for the area, which is why we have decided to extend the celebrations by an extra day to encourage more visitors to attend and to provide an extra day of festivities.
“We’re hoping that this year’s markets will be even more of a success than last year with the positive feedback we’ve received.”