Bishop Auckland Christmas Town was an event held in Bishop Auckland Market Place, starting on Friday 24th November until Sunday 26th November 2023.
Bishop Auckland had a bumper weekend with over 35,000 attending the now annual Christmas Town Event, which transformed the Market Place into a wonderful Winter Wonderland, with Ice Skating, a Festive bandstand, Tipi Bar, Ferris Wheel, Giant Snow globe and over 40 Christmas Market pitches.
Bishop Auckland Christmas Town is known as a seasonal family festival that has captured the hearts of residents and visitors alike since its inception. The event truly celebrates the magic and spirit of Christmas, with a rich tapestry of attractions, live entertainment, heart-warming experiences, and opportunities to support local businesses, Christmas Town is now a beloved tradition, bringing the community together during the holiday season with lots of free elements for everyone to enjoy.
Thomas Wales, Director of Baccanalia said: “Bishop Auckland is a wonderful place, with wonderful people; thanks to them, this weekend has exceeded our expectations. People came out in their droves, we were hoping to attract 25,000 and the dry weather helped us dramatically to exceed that number. We are so grateful for the support we have received and the support of our principal partner Bishop Auckland Town Council, along with many others. Our aim has been to make Bishop Auckland the Christmas Capital of County Durham, and from the feedback we have received, we are well on our way to doing that. We already have more ideas for what additions and improvements we wish to make in 2024.”
The event was free to attend, with Christmas Market Stalls, Food vendors, Tipi Bar, bandstand providing live entertainment, roaming street performers and a giant snow globe all included, as well a beautiful Christmas Tree Festival at St Anne’s Church. Ticketed activities included a Ferris Wheel offering a stunning bird’s eye view of the Market Place, Santa’s Grotto, Children’s Sing-Along events, Wreath Making Workshops, Ice Skating, Christmas Party Night, and the Cabaret Club’s Big Christmas Quiz with Nana Funk.
Ben Tinkler, Managing Director of Bridge Creative said: “Christmas Town is no ordinary event; it is a full partnership between the creators and the community. The event is at the heart of what we do at Bridge Creative and it’s been fantastic to see so many people come to support it. Christmas Town enables the people we support to gain a huge range of skills in preparation for the event and during the weekend. The guys we support are proud to be part of such a great event in their town. They have created art installations, built set pieces for the magical Santa’s grotto, supported the event management team, learnt about event stewarding, created pieces for the MadeBy stall and so much more. They have all helped to make this incredible event a success and I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team. This weekend has enabled 14 adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to have credited work experience, as well as offered 9 paid employment opportunities.
Cllr Sam Zair, Mayor of Bishop Auckland said: “Christmas Town is a testament to the collaboration that the council encourages between the local community, local organisations and the local business sector. We are thrilled to be the principal partner in this fantastic event from its start, and to see it grow to what it is today has been a joy. It was wonderful to see our magnificent Market Place, bustling and alive under the twinkle of the festive lights, showcasing the wonderful town that Bishop Auckland can be, through partnership work, enhancing not only the lives of those visiting but also giving much-needed support to our local economy. The feedback we have received firmly places Christmas Town as the top event in the calendar for supporting our local traders.”