A staggering £50,000 has been contributed to the Harrogate tourism sector
following the first three years of Harrogate Christmas Market.
The organisers have revealed that the not-for-profit event, which first took
place in 2012, has supported events and organisations including Harrogate
International Festivals, Harrogate in Bloom, Visit Harrogate, the Gilbert &
Sullivan Festival and more. Their policy is to contribute to those organisations
which help to attract visitors to the town, which is one of the key aims of the
Christmas Market itself.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of the event has been the Harrogate at
Christmas festive lights campaign, which has received an impressive £17,000
worth of support since 2012.
Brian Dunsby, who leads the organising committee with his wife Beryl, said: "We
have been overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm for Harrogate Christmas
Market, which has grown year on year.
"We're absolutely delighted to be able to reveal that that support has helped us
to raise so much money for the local economy. In our first year, when we took on
the Christmas Market from a commercial company which pulled out late in the day,
we were only able to make a small contribution from our funds, so much of this
money has been raised in just two years.
"Harrogate depends very heavily on tourism. Not only have we brought tens of
thousands of people into town at Christmas a vital time of year for many local
traders we have also helped to make it an even more attractive place to visit
all year round.
We would also like to thank Harrogate Borough Council for the support we have
received from many of the staff, which has helped us to make the event such a
The organising committee is made up almost entirely of volunteers, with a few
professional companies brought in for vital elements of the event such as
electrical work, marquee hire and printing. Its chairman is John Fox, who also
leads the volunteers on the Harrogate at Christmas group, who works tirelessly
every year to raise money to make Harrogate sparkle over the festive period.
John said: "It costs a huge amount of money every year to create the fantastic
light displays we all enjoy in the run-up to Christmas, and we rely very heavily
on donations from the local community, in particular local businesses. We
usually have to raise at least £30,000 just to have the same lights up as the
previous year, and that's without making any improvements or bringing in new
displays, which we continue to try to do .
"The contribution made from the funds created by Harrogate Christmas Market has
been an enormous help to us over the last couple of years. We are very lucky to
have such a successful event in Harrogate, and the fact that it is run on a
not-for-profit basis makes it even more valuable to all of us.
"Both the Christmas market team and the Christmas lights team work incredibly
hard to make both projects a success. Many people don't realise that they are
all volunteers, and that without members of the community giving up their time
for projects like this, we would all lose out on some of the best lights and one
of the best Christmas markets in Yorkshire.
"I hope local businesses and residents across Harrogate will continue to give us
their support this year, and for many years to come."
Now in its fourth year, Harrogate Christmas Market is proving more popular than
ever with both traders and visitors. The 200 spaces for traders sold quickly
when they were released, with only a handful of tables still available now. The
number of coach parties already booked to attend is higher than in previous
This year's Christmas Market runs from Thursday, November 19 to Sunday, November
22. With the official Christmas Lights Big Switch-On also due to take place on
Thursday, November 19, Harrogate will be well and truly in the festive spirit
throughout the four days.
The Big Switch-On which is a free event for the community begins at 4pm and
features live performances from talented local musicians. It runs until 6pm,
when Father Christmas and the Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Nigel
Simms, join forces to press the button and switch on the Christmas lights.
The Switch-on is followed by a short Carol Service in nearby St Peter's Church
where all are welcome..
Anyone interested in volunteering for either Harrogate Christmas Market or
Harrogate at Christmas should call John Fox on 01423 540541