4th December, 2017…
Now in its 22nd year, the event is held on the second Sunday of December every year and has grown from a small affair with just a handful of stalls to the point where there is a waiting list to take part. This year, there will be more than 120 stalls offering festive fayre and gifts and a host of other attractions which is expected to draw some 60,000 people into the town.
In 2016, 63 coaches brought visitors from as far afield as Edinburgh.
Wednesday Market is where the Beverley Festival of Christmas begins when, at 10am, the Christmas Parade will set off behind the Beverley & District Pipe Band and Santa and his sleigh being pulled by reindeer.
It will head through Toll Gavel to its destination in Saturday Market, with both market squares hosting Victorian-themed stalls from 10am through to 4pm. There will be street entertainment, too, at both locations, including traditional Victoria fairground rides in Saturday Market.
But it’s not just the two market squares where the action is. The whole town will be joining in the celebrations and after the success it enjoyed last year, the Victorian market will be expanded down the picturesque North Bar.
This is one of Beverley’s most stunning shopping areas, overlooked by St Mary’s Church and the 15th century North Bar. From food and drink, to jewellery and clothing, a range of stalls will be nestled within the Georgian Quarter Shops. There’s plenty of entertainment, too, in this architecturally fascinating area of Beverley . . . this is your chance to get hands on experience with the Birds of Prey in Coronation Gardens whilst enjoying a soundtrack of local artists curated by The Westwood Sessions.
Across at Flemingate there will be more stalls, integrated with the big brand names and great places to eat that the centre is well known for. Just a few minutes walk from Beverley Minster, and close to Wednesday Market, Flemingate is the perfect place to start the day with 500 parking spaces on offer.
There’ll be plenty of family-friendly street entertainment throughout the day, combined with a stunning Nordic tipi bar, complete with a roaring fire and cosy atmosphere. There’s also the chance to catch pop-up performances from this year’s panto at The Parkway Cinema - Dick Whittington and his Wonderful Cat. The panto will be performing at the festival in the lead up to the shows starting on Friday 16th December.
Elsewhere in Beverley, the town’s historic churches and museums are hosting additional events to ensure this is a day to remember! In the Minster, for instance, it’s the finale of their three-day Christmas Tree Festival, with 100 decorated trees on display alongside refreshments and entertainments from visiting choirs.
St Mary’s Church will be open from late morning with family activities, tours, craft stalls, live music and refreshments. The Bell Tower will also be open for tours, including access to the tower roof.
In addition, there will be lots of exciting activities in the church for children, including face-painting, various Christmassy activities (including making Father Christmas gnomes!)
The Church crypt will be transformed into a crib scene and children will be able to dress up as various different characters from the Nativity. And at 3pm there’s a carol service, featuring the Beverley Church Lads and Girls Brigade brass band.
Toll Gavel United Church opens from 10.30am with Christmas music and festive entertainment from the Toll Gavel Musicians, Esperion Singers, Beverley Community Choir, pianist John Brien and the Beverley Male Voice Choir. The church will also be serving tea, coffee and festive mince pies throughout the day.
And finally, the Guildhall is open with free admission. Take time away from busy streets to relax with a tea or coffee in the elegant surroundings of The Parlour, whilst the children enjoy Victorian themed activities in the beautiful courtroom.
One of the biggest and best free events, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the Beverley Festival of Christmas. It starts at 10am on December 10th - don’t miss it!