Ripon's business community takes charge to organise new Christmas market

Ripon businesses are coming together to organise a new Christmas market.
Ripon businesses are coming together to organise a new Christmas market.

Ripon’s business community is taking charge to organise new festive events for the city.

Around 50 residents and traders attended a meeting at So Bar organised by the Ripon Chamber of Trade and Commerce, where calls were made for a bigger and better Christmas market on the Square.

The Chamber’s secretary, Stephen Craggs, told the ‘Gazette that the energy and enthusiasm shown by businesses will be a critical part of creating a more vibrant event.

Mr Craggs said: “There was a lot of disappointment among residents and traders about this year’s Christmas market on the Square - it just looked like any other market, and there was no festive atmosphere, precious few stalls and no live music.

“But there was a lot of enthusiasm at this meeting, with a group of businesses and residents already putting their hands up saying they would like to work on Christmas events for Ripon in 2018.

“There is no reason at all why it can’t be as big as the markets in Skipton and Knaresborough, where people have the market pencilled in their calendar to go every year. We have got all the makings of it, we have the Market Square for a start.

“We would like to have an event that encompasses the whole Market Square and the wider city, making full use of our medieval streets.”

This year’s Christmas market on the Square was organised by Discover Ripon. Representing the organisation, Sally Close said: “As always Discover Ripon are happy to work with and assist any interested groups or businesses who wish to facilitate any activity such as markets or entertainment in Ripon market place.”

Mr Craggs said businesses are keen not to exclude Discover Ripon, recognising that key to the market’s success will be cooperation between themselves, Discover Ripon and Ripon City Council.

A working group of more than 18 members has been established to spearhead the organisation of the market, and more came forward to volunteer and help with specific tasks.

Ideas for the market include having artisan stalls and crafts to attract more visitors, and to have live music and entertainment in as many areas of the city as possible. Businesses also talked about setting a theme.

Mr Craggs said: “We could have a panto theme, a Charles Dickens theme, whatever people decide.”