The City Matters column with Alan Weston

The Cathedrals Food and Gift Fayre will take place on Saturday 25 November.
The Cathedrals Food and Gift Fayre will take place on Saturday 25 November.

Although it is only October you may have noticed that some of the Christmas Lights have been put up around the city centre already. This is earlier than normal, but is a result of changing contractors, and being able to make savings on the costs of installation, storage, taking down and testing.

As mentioned last month, in late August we found that some of our lights were life-expired or needed expensive repairs.

As a temporary solution we’ve hired in some additional lights this year, but will be seeking to raise funds to purchase new lights early in the new year. These will then be stored and available for us in 2018.

At this time of the year, the focus of the City Development Team is on the Christmas events. This year we are organising a variety of activities on Saturdays which will complement and enhance other activities and events taking place in the city centre.

Whilst the lights have been put up around the city, they won’t be officially switched on until Saturday 25 November.

We are delighted that entertainment in the Market Place is being provided by the Dishforth Military Wives Choir, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Pipe Band and local singer Lily Worth.

With the Cathedral Food and Gift Fayre on the same day, and a new park and ride facility being introduced, it could be even busier than last year’s record breaking event and a fantastic festive day in the city.

The following week, Saturday 2 December, will be the Christmas Market. This year’s event will take on the Market Place, as this has allowed costs to be reduced. These savings can be passed on to encourage more traders.

The additional space available, without the need to close roads, also means that the event can grow and expand in future years, without needing to relocate again.

There are still some stalls available and anyone interested should contact the City Development Team.

Also in the Town Hall on this day will be Santa’s Grotto, a fundraising event organised by Scuba Diving for All, and in the evening, Ripon Cathedral hosts the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ Carol Concert.

Saturday 9 December sees a new community event on the Market Place; Carols Around the Christmas Tree.

This will be an opportunity to come and sing-a- long to your favourite carols accompanied by the Ripon City Band. There’ll also be some special guests, with performances by groups and organisations from around the city, and an opportunity to support a number of worthy causes.

You can also visit the Christmas Tree Festival which takes place at St Wilfrid’s Roman Catholic Church from Friday 8 December until Sunday 10 December, and on the Saturday evening Ripon Choral Society’s Christmas Concert is at Ripon Cathedral.

Finally, we’re also working on the traditional New Year’s Eve Watchnight Service and Torchlight Procession. This is an ever-popular way to welcome the New Year with fireworks and musical entertainment on the Market Place.

In mid November copies of the Discover Ripon Christmas What’s On guide will be available, with details of more events taking place in and around the city.

For further details about all of these Christmas events and more, please visit: www.discoverripon.org. Or if you want to get involved by participating in any of these events, or volunteering to help at them, contact the city development Team at: info@discoverripon.org or call 01765 804080.