Review this summer into commitment for Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre from 2019

The packed Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre attracted 125,000 people in 2017. Picture: SUZANNE ABBOTT

The packed Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre attracted 125,000 people in 2017. Picture: SUZANNE ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

A task group is set to be formed in west Suffolk to review whether to commit to the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre beyond 2018.

The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre has been running since 2004. Picture: SUZANNE ABBOTT

The Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre has been running since 2004. Picture: SUZANNE ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

The four-day festive fayre, which is organised by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, has been running since 2004 and attracts more than 120,000 people, making it one of the top dozen Christmas festivals in the country.

A formal review into the not-for-profit fayre was last carried out in 2015, where it was agreed to continue the festival until the end of the current council administration in 2019.

Now, scrutiny committees at both St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath District Council are being asked to approve the formation of a task and finish group to review the festival and make recommendations for 2019.

If the 2019 festival gets the go-ahead, it will be the first run by West Suffolk Council – the merged authority combining Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury which is due for completion in 2019.

The review into the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre will assess what activities are on offer.
Pictu

The review into the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre will assess what activities are on offer. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant


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A spokesman for the two councils said: “The fayre, which is now an established event with a top national reputation, last year attracted more than 125,000 visitors.

“Thousands of visitors not only enjoyed the event but also the local shops and restaurants in Bury St Edmunds town centre.

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“If the proposal is approved, a group of councillors from both Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury, will meet together over the summer to look at progress in implementing the findings of the 2015 Christmas Fayre review, and to listen to stakeholders’ views.”

Alongside assessments of the festival’s offering, costs and economic and tourism benefit, the review will also consider new anti-terrorist requirements which came into force after 2015 and may impact on event finances.

The packed Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre has become a popular part of the town's calendar.
Pictu

The packed Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre has become a popular part of the town's calendar. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Other areas for review include the event’s management, dates it is set, marketing, transport and parking, venues involved and entertainment offering.

Sue Warren, Brand and Marketing Manager for Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, added: “Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre is a fantastic event which attracts over 100,000 people to Bury St Edmunds every year and is a great way to promote the town and area to people who have travelled from all over the UK to visit.

“Having that captured engaged audience gives us an opportunity to show off the wonderful attractions and accommodation we have here and encourage visitors to come back, stay and explore the area further.

“From a marketing point of view, it is right to regularly review annual events to gain insight as to what works and what does not and we look forward to seeing the results of the review.”

St Edmundsbury will make a decision on forming a task group on Wednesday and Forest Heath on Thursday.

The review will take place between May and August this year and findings will be presented to the overview and scrutiny committees in September and shadow executive in October.

Dates for the Christmas Fayre are set one year in advance, with this year’s event running from November 22-25.

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