TAMESIDE Christmas Market proved to be more popular than ever this year with thousands of visitors enjoying the three weekends of festive fun.
The event, which this year was organised by Tameside Council’s award-winning markets team, had a real family-friendly feel with free funfair and donkey rides, children’s crafts and walkabout characters as well as visits from real reindeer.
Santa’s Grotto proved particularly popular with 1000 visitors helping to raise nearly £2,800 for the Civic Mayor’s Appeal Fund which supports local good causes.
The Christmas market also boasted over 20 traditional cabin stalls – built by Tameside College students – selling a range of speciality gifts, crafts, food and drink from local traders.
While visitors enjoyed fantastic entertainment from local brass bands, choirs, singers and dance groups over the three weekends.
Traders gave great feedback during the event, reporting that they had made their rent money back within a few hours of opening and complimenting on the work of litter pickers, market staff and security staff.
Ashton Market Hall traders also benefited, with footfall counters showing a 20% increase shoppers over the three weekends.
One indoor market stall holder reported their busiest Saturday of trading for seven years and other traders commented that had seen many new faces and shoppers.
Visitors were also happy, with lots positive feedback on social media. One visitor said: “Myself and my family loved the Christmas market, the children really enjoyed the different rides every weekend.”
Another said: “My little boy had a great time! He loves his teddy from Santa and adored the donkey ride. Thank you.”
The final day of the Christmas market tied in with the last Ashton Farmers Market of the year, which was busier than ever with shoppers enjoying both events.
Tameside Council Executive Deputy Leader Cllr John Taylor, who is responsible for markets, said: “We achieved what we set out to do - providing a lovely, traditional event which was family focussed while helping to promote local traders and boost business.
“The atmosphere at the Christmas market was brilliant - the amazing entertainment from the brass bands and performers was very well received and the largely dry and fine weather was also a bonus. A big thank you to everyone who came along to this and other town centre events in the run up to Christmas to support local traders.”
You can follow @TamesideMarkets on twitter to find out about more events and offer throughout the year.