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All aboard the Candy Cane Express to Harrogate’s 'Destination Christmas'

The first Harrogate passengers have taken the inaugural ride on the new Candy Cane Express Road Train, introduced for the Harrogate Fayre.

The first Harrogate passengers have taken the inaugural ride on the new Candy Cane Express Road Train. Harrogate Theatre panto stars Prince Charming (Colin Kiyani) and Cinderella (Christina Harris) steered the Candy Cane Express Road Train carrying councillors, local retailers, BID partners and stakeholder passengers, on its inaugural journey through the Town Centre. The journey culminated at Valley Gardens for the opening of the Harrogate Christmas Fayre (Friday 3rd – Sunday 12th December). The Christmas Fayre, Victorian fair rides, Candy Cane Express, Christmas markets and multiple Santa-sightings, are just a few of the things set to offer lots of festive cheer this year, to keep young and old, entertained throughout the Christmas period and into the first week of January. Following 18-months of drastically reduced revenue and visitor numbers, Harrogate Borough Council and Visit Harrogate are working with partners and stakeholders to create Destination Christmas, to encourage friends and families back into town centres. Gemma Rio, Head of Destination Management at Harrogate Borough Council, said:

"We have been working hard to ensure festivities return with a bang this year in order to drive visitors to our district’s shops, restaurants, visitor attractions, hotels and B&Bs. "There is so much for friends and families to see and do with our enhanced offering.  We have a vast array of festive events and activities right across the district, creating an unmissable Destination Christmas for a festive day trip or weekend away across the Harrogate Borough this year.”
The festivities include a number of Christmas markets, artisan fayres, Santa stops, light shows and beautiful outdoor displays across the Harrogate Borough district. A magical window trail (6th– 24th December) featuring Percy the Penguin’s quest to find a play pal, has been created to encourage footfall into Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge and Ripon town centres. Funded by the government’s Welcome Back Fund, the window trail features six festive images designed by local people and promotions and exclusive discounts from local businesses. A borough-wide celebration requires a joined-up effort and support from multiple partners, Matthew Chapman, Harrogate Business Improvement District manager, said:
"We are really pleased to be playing our part in the arrival of Candy Cane Express, and know this is going to be a very popular addition to the already Festive attractions Harrogate has to offer. "In addition to supporting the Harrogate Christmas Fayre, delivering the biggest number of festive lights Harrogate has ever seen and co-funding the Ferris wheel, Victorian carousel, and helter skelter, we’re proud to partner with the Rotary Club of Harrogate for the annual Christmas Shop Window competition and Harrogate International Festivals for their North Pole post office. "Young families are delighted by our Father Christmas Experience in association with Enchantica and the Crown Hotel, and we’re working with Harrogate Borough Council to offer free parking in the Victoria car park at set times during December to encourage shoppers into the town centre."
The Harrogate Christmas Fayre, managed by Market Place Europe, the UK’s leading and award-winning Christmas market operator, opened at 10 am today (Friday 3rd December) and will run until Sunday 12th December (Open 10 am and 7pm Monday to Wednesday, 10 am and 9pm Thursday to Saturday, and 10 am and 4.30pm on Sunday). Taking place in the heart of the existing retail quarter, the free-to-ride Candy Cane Express Road Train is shuttling passengers between Cambridge Street, Market Place, Station Square and Cambridge Crescent, so passengers can capture the fairground rides and the Fayre where they will find a smorgasbord of unique gifts along with mouth-watering treats for people to enjoy as they wander taking in the sights and sounds. Around 50 traders from Europe, the UK and across Yorkshire are welcoming visitors to their stalls that snake between the existing high street stores that are sure to benefit from the additional footfall of excited shoppers on the hunt for a Christmas treat, or three! Little Bird Made is also holding a festive artisan market in the Valley Gardens, Harrogate on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December (10 am – 3pm daily). The hugely popular artisan market will feature approximately 60 local and regional traders and producers selling a variety of festive arts and crafts, clothing, homeware, jewellery, as well as delicious, seasonal food and drink. Councillor Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said:
"With over 100 traders complementing our existing high street businesses, Destination Christmas is a first-class offering from Harrogate town centre this December to get people in the festive mood. “With the absence of a number of Christmas markets across the region this year, we were determined to create a spectacular and covid-safe event.  To ensure the safety and enjoyment of traders, townspeople and visitors alike, the Christmas Fayre is running over ten days to reduce overcrowding, covering a wider footprint so that customers can maintain covid-safe protocols and I hope everyone can see and enjoy the benefit this town centre offering will bring. "I’d like to extend my thanks to our partners, including North Yorkshire County Council, Harrogate Business Improvement District and the emergency services who are supporting our efforts to ensure we deliver a safe, vibrant and attractive festive experience this Christmas."
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