The annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre could be extended by half a day this year to allow residents a special event of their own.
The nationally renowned event, now in its tenth year, usually takes place over three days on the last weekend in November, but a suggestion has been made to get things under way sooner.
Cllr Robert Everitt, St Edmundsbury Borough Council cabinet member, said: “The idea is to open the fayre for a special evening for residents at 4pm on Thursday, November 28, before the crowds of visitors arrive. We would look to involve local schools, community groups and charities, and ask stall holders to consider special offers.”
The three day fayre attracts around 100,000 visitors and injects £1,617,000 into local economy.
The financial benefit of adding an extra half day is not yet known.
On how it could be restricted to residents, a council spokeswoman said: “Having established if the idea is welcomed in principle, the question of how we make this an evening for Bury St Edmunds residents will be addressed in our project plan.
“Group travel operators put their programmes together more than a year in advance and look for a full day of interest so this extra half day is both too short and at too late notice for them.
“The sound stages are built and standing empty, and there is a waiting list of school choirs and community groups wanting to perform.
“At this stage, we don’t need to know all the answers, but we know the questions.
Bury St Edmunds is very good at putting on events and if the idea is acceptable to our residents and local communities, it will be a great evening out.”
Last year’s fayre saw 300 stalls using eight different venues throughout the town. The proposal for adding an extra half day is supported in principle by Bid4Bury and the arc management.
Bid4Bury chief executive Mark Cordell called it a ‘cracking idea’ and said it would allow locals to enjoy the fayre without having to fight through all the crowds, with added benefits to local businesses too.
Sharon Fairweather, Christmas Fayre organiser said: “The evening wouldn’t cost any more. Many of the hire charges for the fayre are for a week, and we could recoup other costs from stall charges.
“However, we do need to talk to local businesses and residents about the impact of closing half the Angel Hill car park from 10am and then the road from 6pm on Wednesday November 27.”
What do you think of this proposal?