Manchester City Council

The Council & democracy News - December issue

Only a few days left of the award-winning Manchester Christmas Markets

There are only a few days left to get your fill of this year’s magical Christmas Markets.

The world-famous festive attraction comes to an end on Wednesday 20 December, but for those who just can’t get enough of the whiff of glühwein and a belly full of bratwurst, the Christmas Market hub in Albert Square will remain open until 6pm on Thursday 21 December.

This year’s market season has been one of the busiest on record, with traders reporting a bumper year as locals and visitors flock to the annual attraction.

The barometer of busyness – how quickly the much-loved collectible festive mugs sell – shows how popular the markets have been, as nearly 80,000 mugs were sold in the first two weeks alone, compared to 60,000 in the same period in 2016.

In past years more than nine million people have visited the Christmas Markets, and this year looks on track to break all records.

The message hasn’t been lost with our European counterparts either, as Manchester was officially named the best market in the UK – and 13th best across the continent. The city beat stiff competition from iconic festive destinations such as Dresden and Cologne in a public vote through influential travel website European Best Destinations.

This year’s markets have also used their popularity to give a helping hand to homeless people in Manchester, and collections for the Big Change homeless fund were set up for the first time.

The Big Change campaign is a central fund for more than twenty charities. With support from Manchester City Council and CityCo, it has helped hundreds of people to move their lives forwards and begin to build an independent life away from the streets.

With the final weekend still to go, more than £3,000 has already been donated by generous market visitors. The fund will help hundreds of people to build an independent life away from the streets.

Inspired by the hugely popular Christmas animation (which is still available to watch), Christmas cards featuring the now iconic Manchester bee and our hapless Manchester Santa are on sale at Central Library and Manchester Art Gallery in packs of six for £6, and 25% of all profit will go to the Big Change Fund.

Futuristic tech gave the Christmas Markets a digital upgrade this year, as an augmented reality app has been available to download for the first time. The app, which has been downloaded more than 5,500 times, is still available in your app store (search for buzzin, by Sparta Digital) and allows users to explore the markets in a new interactive way.

By scanning the much-loved Christmas Market mugs, a special festive character appears; or by using your phone’s camera to look at the markets, useful pointers appear on the screen, from toilets and cash machines, to various market stalls and the ice rink.

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s fantastic to see the huge crowds enjoying the Christmas season in Manchester after what has been a turbulent year for the city.

“It is a testament to the quality of our city centre and our Christmas attractions that we continue to see wall-to-wall people – and the numbers keep growing year on year.

“Thank you to everyone who has chosen Manchester to visit this Christmas time – it really is the Christmas capital of the UK.”

Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, said: “It’s already been an incredible year for our Christmas Markets and the stats support what we are seeing and what traders are feeding back. It goes without saying that it has been a tough year for the city, but it’s with true Manchester spirit that we have bounced back.”

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