Blackburn is to host a full-scale genuine German Christmas Market on its Cathedral Square for 25 days this year.
Specialist consultants Retail Alternatives, who run similar ventures in Milton Keynes and Telford, are bringing 26 specially-imported chalets from the German city of Flensburg which holds an major annual Christmas Market.
Already two chalets have been booked for a German bar and a Bratwurst sausage grill at the event which will run seven day a week from Thursday November 29 to Sunday December 23. The market will open from 10.30 am to 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and until 9pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to pack the festive event which will also have children’s fairground attractions. Blackburn with Darwen regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley hopes the event will attract families from across East Lancashire who might otherwise go to the popular Manchester city centre version.
The news has been welcomed by Blackburn Market trader Malcolm Marsden, Nicola Clayton, Chair of Blackburn Business Improvement District, and borough Tory group leader Cllr John Slater.
Andrew Burnett, a director of Retail Alternatives, said: “We approached the council because of Blackburn’s strong market tradition and the fantastic Cathedral Square.
“We think we can make it a real success and expect tens of thousands of people to come over the 25 days. This will an authentic German Christmas market not a mock version.”
Cllr Riley said: “This is a major addition to Blackburn’s Christmas attractions.
“It is a great way to use the new Cathedral Square and we hope it will draw families from across Lancashire into our new Blackburn town centre rather than Christmas shoppers having to make the long and difficult journey into Manchester city centre for the German festive experience.
“The council has set aside £20,000 from its Christmas budget for this but we hope it will be cost neutral.”
Mr Marsden, owner of Whittakers Butchers, said: “This is a fantastic idea. The market traders will fully support it.”
Cllr Slater said: “This is a good idea. I hope it’s a great success.”
Ms Clayton said “It’s good news that the town is expanding its Christmas offering with the Christmas Market. The town has become well known for great events over the last few years.”
The fairground attractions include a vintage helter skelter and an antique chair-o-planes.
Cllr Riley said: “This is about making Blackburn a real family destination to have fun and showing off our wonderful new town centre to people who haven’t been for a long time.”
Ms Clayton said: “We look forward to even more people choosing to visit Blackburn this year to experience our ever expanding offer.”
“We are looking forward to working with the council and local businesses to help make this family focussed event a great success for visitors and local traders alike.”Tags: Blackburn Retail Alternatives Featured