Town’s festive shop window tradition goes digital for first time

Businesses hope shoppers will flock to The Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds next week. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Businesses hope shoppers will flock to The Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds next week. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Organisers of a festive competition are inviting people to take part digitally for the first time in the annual tradition’s history.

As usual, a range of prizes will be on offer as part of the festive window competition in Bury St Edmunds – but this year’s contest will be decided online.

Despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, competition organisers Our Bury St Edmunds are hoping that the effort put into festive window dressing by the town’s businesses will be seen and celebrated by visitors and residents

The winning business will be presented with the Our Bury St Edmunds shield to hold for a year.

Anyone voting on the LoyalFree app will be entered into a draw to win one of three Our Bury St Edmunds gift cards – redeemable in about 50 businesses.

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To make it easier for people to view them in one place, the windows are being listed as a special trail on the free app.

Voting opens on Monday and closes on December 13, with the Our Bury St Edmunds shield presented the following week.

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Mike Kirkham, from Our Bury St Edmunds, said: “In the past, we have invited a different independent judge to choose a winner, and every year, without fail, they have told us how difficult a task they have found it.

“Some have put in a huge amount of time, taking photos, drawing up shortlists and making several trips into town to finally pick a winner.

“With a trail and digital competition on the app, we hope those who vote, whether they know and love Bury St Edmunds or are visiting for the first time, will find it a lot easier.”

The Business Improvement District (BID) took over organisation of the long-standing festive award 11 years ago.

Mr Kirkham, the BID’s marketing officer, added: “The pandemic has presented many challenges for the town centre this year, not least the most recent lockdown. But the effort that has gone into festive window dressing by businesses, despite everything, is absolutely fantastic.

“We hope that people who come to look and vote for their favourite window will do some of their Christmas shopping at the same time, but for those in town before everywhere is fully open, the trail is a wonderful Christmassy walk to get into the festive mood.”

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