Will Bury's Christmas Fayre return in a different format this year?
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Business and traders in Bury St Edmunds remain on tenterhooks over a decision on whether the town's award-winning Christmas Fayre will take place this year.
The popular fayre, which regularly attracts around 130,000 people over four days in November, has been cancelled by organisers West Suffolk Council for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A number of smaller events took place in the town last year instead of the fayre - which is one of the biggest of its kind in the country.
The council is currently keeping tight-lipped over the future of this year's fayre but did say last month that no decision has yet been made.
A number of Bury businesses will certainly be keen to see the fayre return in 2022, with the event estimated to be worth millions of pounds to the local economy.
Last month, business chief Mark Cordell told this newspaper that some traders earn more money in the Christmas Fayre weekend than they do in the month of January.
Market trader Darren Old, who called time on his card stall after 20 years in January, also said his turnover was 50% down in November 2021 compared with November 2019.
Mr Old, from Great Barton, said the cancellation of last year's fayre was the "nail in the coffin" for his stall, and suggested the event was "not coming back".
The council said it was "entirely wrong" to suggest any decisions had been made, but speculation has continued over whether Bury will ever see its Christmas Fayre in the same guise again.
In November 2018, there were calls for a wholesale review into how the event is held, with some councillors making it clear they wanted the event in 2020 - which never happened due to Covid - to look very different.
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The idea of a longer "Christmas in Bury" experience was raised, rather than cramming the event into four days at the end of November.
When approached, and asked when a decision on the fayre would be made, a spokesman for West Suffolk Council said there was no comment to make at this stage.