Harrogate boost as Convention Centre secures two major events

Harrogate Convention Centre has pulled off a new coup by securing two major events for the town.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 3:18 pm

The town's largest venue has signed a deal with Kerrison Craft Exhibitions to host two British Craft shows - British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF) and British Craft & Design Fair - between this autumn and 2025, adding to the venue’s three long-term exhibition wins earlier this year.

The events are expected to bring 10,000 visitors to Harrogate district each year, with an estimated economic impact of £412,500 in local spending at hotels, restaurants, shops and more.

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Paula Lorimer, Venue Director at Harrogate Convention Centre, said: “It is wonderful to welcome the two craft shows to the centre of town.

The craft shows are the latest addition to a series of returning long-term exhibition deals secured by HCC this year after Harrogate Fashion Week (till 2023); the Flooring Show (till 2024) and the Bridal Week (till 2025), as the venue continues to bounce back strongly after it had to close during the pandemic.

Paula Lorimer, Venue Director at Harrogate Convention Centre, said: “It is wonderful to welcome the two craft shows to the centre of town and to secure their long-term presence in Harrogate.

"As the economy recovers from the pandemic these exhibitions also bring significant footfall to local retail and hospitality businesses in the district and are key to Harrogate’s visitor economy.

"With our central location in our beautiful spa town, accessibility and myriad hospitality and entertainment options, I am confident both exhibitors and visitors will have a great experience.”

Harrogate Convention Centre: British Craft & Design Fair

The British Craft & Design Fair, launched by Kerrison in partnership with Handmade in Britain this year, will take place in Harrogate on November 25-27 then 19-21 May 19-21, 2023.

The brand-new consumer exhibition will focus on premium and contemporary British handmade products, showcasing over 150 exhibitors, which are expected to attract thousands of visitors.

Catering to discerning shoppers, the British Craft & Design Fair is the latest addition to Handmade in Britain events already established in Chelsea, Oxford and Kew Gardens.

Harrogate Convention Centre: British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF)

BCTF - UK’s leading trade event in the sector and the only one representing British handmade items—will also come to HCC for the first time in April 2023 and is set to return in 2024 and 2025.

Showcasing an exceptional array of design talent from across the crafting spectrum of ceramics, glasswork, fine art, cards and stationery, fashion accessories, textiles and soft furnishings, home fragrance products, handcrafted jewellery and more, BCTF is expected to see over 300 exhibitors.

Having run in the district for 45 years, BCTF is well-positioned to serve the Northeast region, where over 4,000 registered expert designer-makers operate within a 2.5-hour drive of HCC.

Having previously run exhibitions for different industries at HCC, Kane Thomas, Event Director at Kerrison Craft Exhibitions, said he was very familiar with the venue, its benefits and extremely helpful team.

“It’s always such a joy to head to Harrogate for site visits, meetings and eventually the events themselves,” he said.

“With longstanding tenants including Harrogate Christmas & Gift Fair and Home & Gift Buyer’s Festival, Harrogate Convention Centre has proved itself a popular destination for retail buyers within the industry that British Craft Trade Fair can proudly present itself alongside. The same can be said for the mix of consumer/public shows in which British Craft & Design Fair is launching into.

“Both exhibitors and visitors can make the most of their visit with more networking opportunities and discounts on restaurants and cafes all within walking distance of the venue,” Thomas added.

By bringing the shows to HCC, Kerrison Craft Exhibitions aim to bring fresh, new buyers and makers as the shows are set to grow over the coming years.

“The venue lends itself nicely to curating an event in which exhibitors and visitors alike can get caught in the ‘Harrogate Bubble’, immersing themselves in everything the event and the town have to offer through extended networking opportunities and the benefit of having everything on your doorstep,” said Thomas.

“I’ve yet to find anyone that has attended Harrogate for business or leisure to leave and not have fallen in love with it in some way.”

A typical year of events sees more than 150,000 visitors to Harrogate Convention Centre, with an economic impact of £35m, which supports many local businesses and thousands of jobs, particularly in the hospitality trade.

British Craft & Design Fair Autumn 2022 will take place on November 25-27.

British Craft Trade Fair 2023 will take place on 16-18 April.