Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre 2021 to be replaced with smaller events

The start of Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.

The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre has been cancelled for a second year due to concerns around coronavirus - Credit: Gregg Brown

A series of smaller festive events - to be announced - will replace the popular Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre this winter.

The fair, which attracts about 100,000 people over several days, has now been cancelled for the second time due to concerns around coronavirus.

Business and tourism bosses have expressed their disappointment over the news, but say they will work with partners to ensure companies and communities have the best Christmas possible.

For many town centre businesses, the fair weekend is the busiest trading weekend of the year, said Mark Cordell, chief executive of the town's Business Improvement District (BID).

The start of Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.

The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre normally attracts 130,000 people over four days - Credit: Gregg Brown

West Suffolk Council, which organises the four-day Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre, said last year's event had to be postponed due to Covid-19 and this year it could not go ahead "due to the need to keep Covid-safe and be able to change as guidance does".

Planning for the Christmas in Bury St Edmunds campaign for 2021 is in its early stages, but it will include the festive lights switch on.

It will start in November and organisations and businesses are also invited to come forward with their events and ideas to be included in the programme.

Mark Cordell, CEO at ourburystedmunds BID. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mark Cordell, CEO at ourburystedmunds BID - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said: “While it is disappointing that the fayre will not be happening this year, we want to continue to make sure our businesses and communities have the best Christmas they can have this year and in the future.

"Christmas in Bury St Edmunds fits with the work the BID and our businesses have been doing for the Bury Bouncing Back campaign.

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"We look forward to a range of events being delivered in the run-up to Christmas."

Melanie Lesser, chair of Bury St Edmunds and Beyond tourism group, said: “Our visitors and tourism businesses will be disappointed that the Christmas Fayre will not go ahead in Bury St Edmunds this year, but we look forward to working with partners this year to encourage visitors to the town over an extended festive period.”

So far organisations including West Suffolk Council, Bury St Edmunds Town Council, Our Bury St Edmunds BID, Bury and Beyond, St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the Arc shopping centre are working together on the plans for this Christmas.

The Very Reverend Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, added: "Christmas is a time when families come together, and we hope that this year we can offer visitors a chance to enjoy a unique experience at the cathedral with a specially planned event and traditional carol services.”

The start of Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.

The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre in 2016 - Credit: Gregg Brown

Susan Glossop, portfolio holder for growth for West Suffolk Council, which will be running an event as part of the programme, said the Christmas events would help, over several weeks, to attract residents and families into the town to enjoy the festive period and support local businesses, employers and suppliers.

"Importantly it will be done in a Covid-safe way," she said.

She said they welcomed other community organisations to join in with the Christmas campaign.