OPINION: A momentous Jubilee celebration for all - Matthew Chapman, Harrogate BID

In exactly a week’s time, Harrogate BID and partners will be very much firing the starting pistol of Harrogate’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, when the town marks Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne in right royal fashion.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 3:15 pm
16th May 2022
Queens Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Harrogate.
Pictured bunting on Oxford Street, Harrogate
Picture Gerard Binks
16th May 2022 Queens Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Harrogate. Pictured bunting on Oxford Street, Harrogate Picture Gerard Binks

This really is a once in a lifetime experience and the options on how you may want to celebrate in Harrogate really are endless.

In early January, we, and when I say we I mean a number of different organisations and businesses, started looking at what we could do to make sure the heart of Harrogate could be a hotbed of free family-oriented entertainment, where people could come and go as they pleased, bring their own picnic and enjoy the company of family members and friends.

We looked at a variety of locations, and to start with we ruled nothing out.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

In marketing circles it’s called ‘blue sky thinking’ and helps creative thinking.

We soon had a blueprint of what we wanted to do - and where we would stage it.

Thus, was born Jubilee Square!

This soon-to-be pop-up space on the area of The Stray opposite the Alexandra pub - that for four days will have live music, live entertainment, a Jubilee dog show, a Harrogate Mastermind, a big school singalong, Harrogate at the races, a big screen and stage showing all the highlights live from London, free wellbeing sessions, the Big Jubilee Picnic and two open air style cinema showings of Encanto and The Greatest Showman.

And if that isn’t enough, the town centre itself will also be awash with fun and merriment, with six Jubilee-themed street entertainers, such as Edmund and Hillary, and Nautical Nonsense, our resident Harrogate Hosts, 4km of bunting and of course a fabulous array of shops, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Worried about how you’ll get there and home?

Fear not, Harrogate BID has also partnered with the Harrogate Bus Company to provide free bus travel for the full four days on all of its electric routes so you really can let your hair down!

I say this over and over again, this celebration has only been possible through collaboration with partners such as Destination Harrogate, Harrogate Borough Council, Your Harrogate and many, many Harrogate BID members.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for making this momentous celebration happen, and I look forward to many more partnership approaches for the good of our town.

Finally, if all goes to plan and we get the weather a celebration like this deserves, there’s no doubt Harrogate will be under the rightful pressure to perform.

Although sometimes it’s perhaps correct to be a ‘critical friend’ of certain statutory services - and believe me Harrogate BID politely delivers this on a daily basis - I think it’s worth remembering it’s not just the hospitality industry that is facing staffing issues, and it’s not always logistically possible to complete every task as quickly as we would like them to be done.

We all want a town centre that is safe clean and welcoming, and with our Street Ranger Chris and our cleaning contractors, I believe we have the clean element 

A BID is not there to replace a local authority, or the services they provide, but to add that ‘additionality’ – be it in the form of extra floral displays, litter picking, power washing streets, graffiti and weed removal - ensuring our town looks good all year round.

Enjoy the festivities, I know I will.