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News release - Issued by Male It York

St Nicholas Fair – tourism chiefs announce roaring success

York St Nicholas Fair has been heralded a roaring success by marketing agency Make It York, organisers of the 37 day festive event. Footfall figures revealed this month show York’s Christmas Festival is drawing in the crowds and market traders have reported business is buoyant. Between 27 November and 3 December footfall figures for four of the city’s key streets increased by 7.7% year on year and between 4 December and 10 December by 9.2%.

This news comes after York was named most Festive City in the UK following a survey of social media released by Virgin Trains last week. Virgin Trains used the social media analysis to measure positive and negative sentiments about Christmas and York came out came out on top. The study analysed over 500,000 Christmas tweets and found 89% of Christmas-themed tweets that come out of York are positive.

Steve Brown, Managing Director, Make It York, said: “We’ve worked really hard to improve the quality of the St Nicholas Fair – making sure it is a true shoppers’ experience – it has become so popular that we had a waiting list of traders who want to be part of it.

“The message is getting out there that York’s St Nicholas Fair is different and special.
We have a really good variety of stallholders, many of whom make their goods locally in Yorkshire. People want to buy things that are made here and support local independent businesses.”

Organisers say a new booking system for coaches has helped boost coach business with 455 bookings bringing in around 25,000 visitors, in addition to those who travel by train and by car. Coach bookings are reported to be up by an estimated 10% year on year and parking charges have been held at the same rates as last year.

Chris Price, Head of City Centre and Events, Make It York, said: “Three years ago we made the decision to run the York St Nicholas Fair for 37 days, rather than the traditional one weekend in November. This has been a phenomenal success – popular with both traders and customers. It has also helped to spread the business across the whole festive season, making for a more comfortable experience for everyone.”

Opening hours of York St Nicholas Fair were extended on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, until 8pm and the initiative appears to be paying dividends with couples and families making a special trip into York in the evenings to enjoy the Fair.

Traders at the Fair are reporting that business is strong and several have said it has been their best year yet. New additions like the Yuletide Village, selling jewellery, ceramics and candles in the rejuvenated Shambles Market and the Yorkshire Barn, offering Yorkshire pies and Herbie’s mulled wine have added more choice for Christmas shoppers.

Tracie Jarvis-Post, Director, Made in Yorkshire, said: “With these two new venues trade has been good. We have a loyal following and all our manufacturers are local. Our gourmet pies and peas are from the Yorkshire Baker in Malton for example and have been really popular. My favourite is the roast pork with cider cream sauce and all butter shortcrust pastry!”

Rob Williamson, from Whitby, who sells his father’s watercolour prints and has been coming back to the Fair for the last four years, said: “This year’s Fair has gone really well from the start. Regular customers have been coming back to buy prints to add more to their collection. This year the evenings have been much busier and crucially the buskers make a big difference to the atmosphere and the quality of Yorkshire traders is really good.”

Paul Smith, from Blueberry Hill Preserves near Wetherby, said: “The Fair gets better every year and it’s brilliant to see our loyal customers coming back to see us. Our Strawberry and Prosecco jam goes down very well with crusty buttered toast!”

Retailers across the city are also reporting a strong start to their festive season and businesses are telling Make It York that footfall coming into the St Nicholas Fair is impacting on them positively. The footfall figures announced relate to Coney Street, Parliament Street, Stonegate and Micklegate. York Christmas Festival runs for 37 days and will end on Friday 22 December. It includes the return of Thor’s Scandinavian Tipi and the Living Advent Calendar - a trail of 25 shop windows, each revealing a special festive treat every day till 25 December - as well the Small Business Christmas Market at Judges’ Lodgings and as a whole host of events at York’s world-class visitor attractions.


For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Corporate Communications – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

Notes to Editor

Make It York
Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

Key tourism facts
6.9 million visitors annually, £564 million total visitor spend, supporting 19,000 jobs