With just over a week to go before the Shrewsbury Chronicle Christmas Market, the snowy spell has been easing townfolk into the festive spirit.
And as traders gear up for the big day, we take an inside look at how preparations are going for this year’s event as 54 stalls get ready to showcase the very best that Shrewsbury has to offer.
Stallholder spaces were snapped up within a matter of weeks after the Chronicle teamed up with Stuart Jones of Shrewsbury Farmers’ Market to bring townspeople a one-off extravaganza of arts, crafts and the finest local produce.
The event, which will be officially opened by Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski, will run from 10am to 7pm on Saturday, December 18.
There will be cooked bacon and eggs available in the morning from Castle Moor Farm and from middayahog roast will be held to keep the winter chill at bay, while shoppers browse a whole host of local crafts and produce.
Set to feature at the market are paintings, sculptures, handmade wooden gifts and children’s toys, as well as carol singers in Victorian dress.
Chocolatier Bonbonniere recently moved into the Shrewsbury Food Enterprise Centre after first launching its business at the farmers’ market four years ago. Having just taken on its first two members of staff and tripled capacity in the last year, they now sell 150 varieties of chocolate and will be starting courses in the New Year.
A lovely atmosphere
Owner Melanie Fallon said: “We first launched at the farmers’ market and now we go every single month – we never miss one. The market has really changed immensely since the turn of the year and it’s got a lovely atmosphere around it now.
“We have been preparing since July so we’ve been working flat out. I can’t put my finger on it but I think people have started to realise what good quality local food the market sells and it really does raise the profile of the town and Shropshire as a whole.”
Fingerless mitten company Turtle Doves, which makes gloves from old charity shop jumpers, first set up stall at the farmers’ market in February. Owner Kate Holbrook has been busy for the Christmas rush.
“I make them out of jumpers I buy from charity shops, and this week we’re doing the cutting and sewing in preparation,” said Kate.
“We’ve been to the market most months this year and it’s definitely becoming more and more established which is brilliant for someone like me who couldn’t afford to have a shop in the town centre.
“The Chronicle Christmas Market really should be a spectacle and provide something for everyone and every budget.”
The Little Round Cake Company, based at Gains Park, bakes over 2,000 cakes a week and made its debut 12 months ago at the 2009 Christmas market.
Staff will be working through the night on the eve of the event making a range of festive-inspired cakes, including quirky mince pie cup cakes.
Owner Brian Crowther said: “It should be a good weekend for us, and it attracts a variety of traders from around the area.
“We’ve had a great year and it has turned into a little bit of a family down there now and the footfall is fantastic – it’s one of our strongest markets.”
It’s clearly a big ‘thumbs-up’ from traders ahead of the one day spectacle – now they just need the crowds to come along for it to be a day to remember.
Who said supermarkets were taking over? See you there!
by David Seadon