Bury St Edmunds: Town set to host bumper festive fair

MORE than 70,000 people are expected to turn out for a historic market town’s Christmas fair which is set to be even bigger and better this year.

The award-winning Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre from Friday to Sunday will conjure up festive magic for parents and children alike with its six markets, two performance stages, funfair and free entertainment.

The fair has recently been named top tourism event in the East of England in the 2010 Regional Enjoy England Awards for Excellence, organised by East of England Tourism.

Sharon Fairweather, St Edmundsbury Borough Council tourism officer, said: “This year is the biggest event we have got. We have got more stalls and extra venues.”

She believed last year’s event attracted about 70,000 people, but this year more are expected.

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Last year’s fair is also believed to have brought �700,000 to the local economy.

Sara Mildmay-White, St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member for economy and asset management, said it showcased the town at its best.

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“It has a lovely atmosphere, with a special mix of entertainment, heritage, shopping, food and cheer all making a great experience.

“It also involves many aspects of the community with schools, churches, businesses, charities, clubs, societies and traders all working together.”

Angel Hill will be the heart of the event, with non-stop entertainment on the Greene King stage, a funfair and more than 100 stalls from many parts of the world, including everything from Caribbean food to locally-produced sausages.

There will also be a historical market at Moyse’s Hall Museum on Cornhill, German-style chalets at the Arc shopping centre selling gifts and crafts, a traditional Christmas bazaar at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, as well as stalls at the Athenaeum, the Apex entertainment venue and the Abbey Gardens.

The gardens will also host free children’s entertainment, including a grotto and real reindeer. There will be shoppers’ carol services in the cathedral and street entertainers in Abbeygate Street.

The regular street market will also be taking place at the Buttermarket on Saturday and Sunday.

The Angel Hill area of town will be closed from 9.30am on Thursday to 9pm on Sunday and, although diversions will be in place, motorists are advised to avoid the town centre altogether and use the sign-posted seasonal park-and- ride sites at Kempson Way and Olding Road.

Buses from these sites run every 15 minutes to and from the middle of the town on Saturday and Sunday and cost �2 per car load.

Anyone who brings their bus ticket with a Christmas Fayre date into the Tourist Information Centre in Angel Hill during the event will get a free gift.

The Greene King staff car park will also be open on Saturday and Sunday. The entrance is in Cullum Road.

The fair, the seventh organised by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, will be open from 10am each day to 7pm on Friday and Saturday and 5pm on Sunday.

For more information visit www.burystedmundschristmasfayre.co.uk.

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