The festive season is officially upon us after thousands of visitors headed to this year’s Harrogate Christmas Market.
Almost 60,000 visitors flocked to the four-day market from Thursday to Sunday to explore the stalls that lined the historic Montpellier Quarter.
With almost 200 traders, a wide variety of street food on offer, unique stalls selling fantastic gifts as well as Santa’s Grotto, it’s easy to see why many visitors and traders alike regarded it as the market’s ‘most successful year’.
Keith Dickinson and Susan Esofsky, visiting from Leeds, have been coming to the market since its inception and explained why they make a ‘special effort’ to attend.
“It’s fantastic, easily one of the best in the region. The size is amazing and the variety of different stalls they’ve got is also fantastic,” Keith explained.
“It’s open late so people can come after work to have a drink and a snack. We’ve gone to most of the markets around the area, including Leeds and York, but this is the best and most festive.”
Whilst many of the visitors were seasoned veterans, some were making their first trip to the market and were impressed with what they found including John and Yvonne Todd, visiting from Richmond.
Yvonne said: “We’ve been trying a few different things from all the stalls selling street food and there’s far more choice than I ever expected there to be.
“It’s a wonderful atmosphere here, it’s very Christmassy. There’s such a wide variety of stalls, it’s all great fun and everyone is getting into the spirit.”
Doreen Williams and Gill Whitehead had also made the short journey from Leeds to visit the market and were full of praise for the event.
Gill said: “We’ve very much enjoyed our time here, especially as we’ve never been before. We usually go to the market in Leeds but this one is better in a way.
“There’s a lovely selection of food which all smells incredible. It’s nice and colourful and all feels Christmassy. So many people have dressed up and it’s clear that everyone has made a big effort.”
Sue and Richard Rawitcz, visiting from Nottingham, said the only thing that was missing was a ‘bit of snow.
Richard said: “We’re having a fabulous time. It’s an incredibly nice market, we usually go to the one in Hyde Park in London but this is obviously a bit smaller.
“Harrogate is fantastic and this just adds to that festive atmosphere. There’s lots of people here enjoying it and people have said it’s going get even busier.”
Brian Dunsby, who leads the team of voluntary organisers along with his wife Beryl said it was a ‘magical’ time.
He said: “It was highly successful, we had almost too many people on the Saturday and Sunday but we’ve had a lot of very positive reviews.”