St Albans Christmas Market 2017 racked up bill of £73,000

St Albans Christmas Market stalls at dusk

St Albans Christmas Market stalls at dusk - Credit: Archant

St Albans Christmas Market racked up a bill of £73,000 last year, new figures have revealed.

St Albans Christmas Market [Picture: Stephanie Belton]

St Albans Christmas Market [Picture: Stephanie Belton] - Credit: Stephanie Belton

Since it began in 2013, the district council (SADC) run event has cost a total of more than £300,000.

SADC paid £79,455 in its inaugural year, £57,449 its second try, £45,503 in 2015, and £53,000 in 2016.

Despite attempts to generate more income with longer opening hours, centralised stalls, and with local entertainment, last year’s event still did not break even.

The council has attributed this in part to bad weather - the Vintry Garden market had to close while there was heavy snowfall in December.

St Albans Christmas Market

St Albans Christmas Market - Credit: Supplied

Head of community services at SADC, Joe Tavernier, stressed the benefit of a boost to the local economy: “Research by the University of Hertfordshire indicates that the market injected an extra £1 million into the rest of the local economy. Another analysis suggests that figure could be as high as £2.9 million.

“This money, in addition to what was spent at the market, went on purchases in city centre shops, restaurants, cafes and bars.”

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For 2018 Meraki Festival are taking over, overhauling the operation by moving it down Holywell Hill to Verulamium Park.

There will be fun fair rides, children’s ice skating, a three tier tipi bar and firepit, theatre, an ice bar, a high tech Santa’s Grotto, a greater number of chalets, live music, and more spaces for socialising at The Meraki Christmas Festival winter wonderland.

St Albans Christmas Market

St Albans Christmas Market - Credit: Supplied

Parents can drop off the little ones in a Christmas creche, and classic films will be shown in the Meraki Christmas Movie House.

Traditional festive treats will be served in a covered seating area.

Mr Tavernier said: “The deficit was disappointing and prompted us to obtain feedback from a wide range of sources to see how we could make improvements. As a result, this year’s market will be at a new, less confined location with more chalets selling high-quality seasonal produce.

“It will have later opening hours and will also be part of the Meraki Christmas Festival that will include many other exciting attractions such as an ice bar, funfair rides and children’s ice skating.”

It will run Tuesday to Sunday from Friday November 30 until Saturday December 22. There will be late-night opening Thursday to Saturday.