Revealed: Ambitious details of Harrogate's Great Exhibition of the North bid

The Stray in Harrogate
The Stray in Harrogate

Ambitious plans have been set out to showcase Harrogate’s cultural and artistic riches in the town’s bid to host the 2018 Great Exhibition of the North .

Harrogate officially put in its bid on June 30, and has outlined to the Great Exhibition Board why they would be a ‘natural host town’.

The Bid Team has outlined a number of potential programmes they would hold across the district, to showcase the North’s “world class offerings” of culture, science and technology.

A central theme of water has been proposed to link the programmes, including a “central piece” of a water powered big wheel to power a water filtration unit.

A “Great Pavilion of the North” has also been proposed as the exhibition centrepiece - a bespoke moveable piece of unique architecture designed by the engineers behind the 2012 Olympic Cauldron.

Coun Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said there was “no better place” to host the event.

He said: “We know how to dazzle when it comes to hosting national and international showstoppers - just look at the Tour de France.

“We have a world-class conference centre in the centre of our town which is girdled by 200 acres of beautiful grassland, ideal for hosting indoor and outdoor exhibitions.”

Despite costing a potential £12m to host the event, the forecasted economic impact of the exhibition for Harrogate is £75m.

Harrogate does face stiff competition to host the prestigious event. Bradford, Halifax, Blackpool, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, St Helens, Whitehaven, and Newcastle and Gateshead have all submitted bids for the two month exhibition.

However, Sharon Canavar, CEO of Harrogate International Festival which is also on the Bid Team, is confident of the town’s chances.

She said: “The success of the Fire Garden in Valley Gardens proves Harrogate can be a beautiful home for innovative large-scale arts.

“It showed what the town can achieve, how it can make the most of its assets, and how warm and welcoming Harrogate is as a host town.”