Thursday, 16th November 2017 saw the grand opening of the immensely popular Harrogate Christmas Market. This four-day market with a Yorkshire flavour, now in its sixth year, is run by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis.
It all started at 10am
The eagerly-awaited market began when Father Christmas and The Worshipful the Mayor of Harrogate Cllr Anne Jones came down Montpellier Hill in a sleigh, being pulled by two trusty reindeer. The elves in the procession may have seemed above average in size, as they were volunteers from Gambaru Gym and Fitness Centre in Harrogate. A group of children from Oatlands Infant School were on hand to welcome FC, the Mayor, and of course Donner and Blitzen. After arriving, the Mayor took time out of her busy schedule to walk round the market and chat with stallholders. This year’s opening was even more exciting than usual, as the proceedings were filmed by Daisybeck Studios, on behalf of Channel 5.
Trader Stall Awards
For the first time, the organisers decided to highlight those stalls among the 200 that ticked all the boxes. Traders were awarded either a gold or silver certificate, or were highly commended. As there were so many high-quality stalls this year, it was decided to award ‘Highly Commended’ later on during the market. The criteria were:
- Branding – was there clear and attractive signage, so customers knew whom they were buying from?
- Display – was it visually appealing, and could customers see everything on offer?
- Service – did servers welcome customers with a willing attitude?
- Appeal – were the products of good quality and value, and were they viable for HCM?
Gold certificates were awarded to:
C35 Beautifully Turned – hand-turned wooden gifts
P05 Brown & Blond Events – brownies & blondies
P07 Country Fare – handmade Xmas cakes & mince pies
C46 Felt Hoppy – needle felt kits & decorations
Y01 iBeani – tablet beanbags
C06 Massagical – luxurious handmade skincare
C40 Red Paper House – jewellery
R06 Roanne Nurseries – bulb bowls, dried fruit, garlands
T04 Wooden Model Company Ltd – wooden models and T-shirts
Silver certificates went to:
Y06 Archipelago – Christmas decorations
Y14 Carthy & Black – cream liqueurs
Y16 Claire Waters – fused and leaded glass
M16/17 Crafty Bubble – hand-made decorations
L03 Elves in the Wood – home and giftware
Y02 Fassi Mare – luxury homewares and gifts
Y05 Fragrance Express UK – catalytic lamps
Q04 Karen Fawcett Studios – ceramic sculptures of wildlife
T02 Irvin Confectionary – confectionary
K01 Lilly’s Do-Nuts – donuts and waffles
Y18 Orchards of Husthwaite- cider, liqueurs, beer, juice
P09 Proof of the Pudding – homemade traditional puddings
Y04 Raydale Preserves – preserves
Y10 Alfresco Design – rustic giftware
F08 Artisan Fudge – artisan fudge & chocolate gifts
F14 Coffee Time Limited – coffee & cakes
V02 Crusty Pie Company – pork pies, pasties, gourmet rolls
F12 Home Foods Homemade – Xmas cake & mince-pies
X04 Little Soap Kitchen – handmade soap, hand creams
P01 Pots about Candles – scented soya wax candles
F15 Really Indian Limited – fresh cooking sauces
V19 Rewind Glass – glassware from recycled bottles
F1-F2 Rose Cottage Foods – pork & savoury pies
F13 Wilde Flapjacks Artisan Flapjack
Busy Opening Day
The organisers and traders were delighted with the visitor numbers for the first day of Harrogate Christmas Market, which exceeded expectations for a Thursday. Still more people turned up as the sun went down, and the site was transformed into a magical wonderland to delight the senses.
Children enjoyed seeing Father Christmas in his grotto, as well as the two live reindeer, courtesy of Riggmoor Reindeer. The kiddie fun fair proved highly popular with younger children, and as ever, the mulled wine was a hit with adults.