Well, the locals have had their preview night and now this year’s long-awaited return of the Bath Christmas Market can get underway in earnest.
Its post-Pandemic revival has special meaning for one local resident.
It was 20 years ago when the idea of having a Christmas Market in Bath was a vision for two Bath former Councillors – Marian McNeir MBE and Gitte Dawson MBE.
As Marian recalls, “ Bath had had a terrible summer hospitality season with the foot and mouth epidemic preventing tourists coming to Bath and hotels, restaurants and shops were really struggling. Gitte and I had this idea of increasing the number of tourists in November, a normally dead time of year, by holding a Christmas Market, around the Abbey in the centre of Bath.
Gitte adds that it had to be in the centre of the City and as natural and sustainable as possible with wooden chalets, twinkling white fairy lights and lots of greenery. High-quality artisan goods were essential and as local as possible.
Marian remembers that they had to be very determined to make it happen but with a grant of £30,000 and good support from fellow councillors and the Abbey, they managed to get the show on the road and the first-ever Bath Christmas Market ran for 4 days with 20 chalets – and was a huge success!
The rest is history and the market is now a very permanent part of Bath’s economic development, bringing in millions of pounds to our local economy and providing an unforgettable experience to local residents and visitors from all over the world.
Marian and Gitte have retired from local politics now but are still great supporters of the Market, especially the children’s activities and the Twinning stalls.
Bath’s twin cities, Alkmaar and Braunschweig will be selling produce from those cities from 6 to 8 December and Aix en Provence will have wonderful Provencal products from 9 to 11 December where Marian, as Chairman of the Bath – Aix Twinning Association will be behind the stall this time!”
PS Don’t forget there is industrial action on the railways on Saturday – l hear there’s problems today too – so expected city roads to be crowded!!