VIDEO: Harrogate Christmas market opens

Harrogate’s market launched this morning and hundreds of people braved the rain to make the most of the festivities.

There will be more than 200 stalls at the ever-growing market, which has gone from strength to strength since it was launched in 2012 and drew crowds of 40,000 last year.

With extra space set aside this year for a Craft and Gift marquee as well as a Food and Drink Marquee, hopes are high that this could be the best market yet.

“Preparations went really well,” said Coun John Fox, chairman of the Harrogate at Christmas group.

“We’ve got all the usual local produce and local crafts, it’s a fantastic place to come to start your Christmas shopping.

“There’s been a real buzz on site as we’ve been setting up this week, with plenty of people coming over to see what’s happening. 
“Let’s hope they come back for the market!”

The four-day market, was launched at 11am today (Thursday, November 27), and will run until Sunday.

Father Christmas arrived with his reindeer and entertained children from Highfield School, who in turn treated him

There are more than 200 stalls selling everything from Yorkshire cheese and chutneys to handmade gifts and Christmas decorations.

There will be a Santa’s grotto, with elves and real reindeer, and funfair rides which always prove popular.

There is a focus on locally sourced good and crafts, and local musicians will perform in a busking area.

“There’s a wide selection of products to buy for Christmas,” said Coun Fox.

“They are all locally produced. It’s all supporting the local economy.

“It’s not like many of the Christmas markets in the country, with German sausage vans and beer tents.

“If it’s not produced in Harrogate, it has been in Yorkshire.”

The opening ceremony is to be held this morning (Thursday, November 27) at 11am, on St Mary’s Walk in Harrogate town centre.

Santa will be joined on stage by the Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Jim Clark, for the formal ribbon cutting ceremony.

A free Christmas market shuttle bus will run every day from 10 to 8pm, with buses every 10 minutes for most of the day.

It will leave from stand 1 at Harrogate Bus Station, travelling to the Christmas Market entrance opposite The Crown Hotel.