ANNUAL ATTRACTION: Newcastle Christmas market opening date revealed
Christmas shoppers on Northumberland Street in Newcastle, Image: NCJ Media
The opening date for this year’s Newcastle Christmas market has been revealed.
City council bosses have confirmed that the annual attraction, which was cancelled last year due to the Covid pandemic, will be back on Thursday, December 2, later than the usual mid-November start.
The 2021 edition of the Christmas market will run until Christmas Eve and feature up to 30 market stalls around Grey’s Monument to create a “winter wonderland”.
It was revealed in September that the sprawling market which took over the city centre in 2019, with stalls, bars, and fairground rides stretching along Blackett Street and Northumberland Street, would not be returning.
Newcastle City Council and Nottingham-based market operator Mellors Group tore up a five-year deal to stage the event due to the “ongoing uncertainty” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The last iteration of the Christmas markets, which were Newcastle’s biggest ever, had drawn criticism from independent businesses in the historic Grainger Market for taking trade away from them at a crucial time of year.
This year’s event will instead have a much more local focus, with traders now being invited to apply for a market stall.
The council said it “wants to give local traders the opportunity to bring something special” and that the event would be “a chance to showcase Newcastle’s finest produce”, while also promising safety measures to guard against the spread of Covid-19.
Fenwick has announced that its famous Christmas window unveiling will be done online for the second year in a row, with no crowds allowed to gather on Northumberland Street to watch.
Coun Ged Bell, the council’s cabinet member for development, neighbourhoods and transport, said: “We’re delighted to welcome back our Christmas Market.
“It’s a huge attraction and will provide a much-needed boost to the economy.
“We listened to feedback from 2019’s event and we’re now asking local traders to come forward to help offer a wide variety of goods and produce to shoppers in the run up to Christmas.
“Given the recent surge in Covid cases, all events will have measures in place to protect the public.
“We will also soon be announcing our eagerly awaited festive programme.”
To apply for a market stall, you can email NewcastleChristmasMarket@newcastle.gov.uk
Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter
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