Eastbourne’s Christmas Market may not return in 2019.
The town’s Chamber of Commerce says it has received ‘both positive and negative’ feedback for the market, which was in Terminus Road over the festive period.
Eastbourne Christmas said on its Facebook page, “We’ve had both negative and positive feedback about the Christmas Market so we are reviewing holding it next year.
“Unfortunately there is no budget for more lighting or Christmas displays as the market does not make profit. Please let us know what you think.”
The not-for-profit Christmas Market included stalls from a number of local traders and provided 100 hours of entertainment in December. It ran up to Sunday, December 23.
A letter from an Eastbourne Herald reader about the market caused a lot of debate on the Herald Facebook page.
Phil Clements said it was ‘very un-Christmassy’, writing, “There should be much better Christmas lights and they should be open much later to draw people out for an ‘event’ rather than it being a few random sheds.”
Responding to comments, Christina Ewbank of Eastbourne’s Chamber of Commerce said, “We started working on this Christmas Market in January 2018.
“The team visit events all over the county to encourage local produces and traders to come and trade at our Christmas market.
“Eighty per cent of our traders are local people living in or near Eastbourne and many of the crafts and gifts are handmade.
“We do not have the population (100,000) to attract German traders to Eastbourne. They go to large cities like Manchester (2,500,000, 25 times larger than Eastbourne) where they can justify investing in big festive displays.
“Stuttgart is six times larger than Eastbourne and their market has been going for hundreds of years so it is well established and people visit at night. Unfortunately Eastbourne people will not visit in the evening and disappear when the shops close as there is no night time economy.”
She continued, “Our market is totally self funded and we are not for profit. There is no hidden fund for lighting or extra Christmas displays.
“We provided more than 100 hours of entertainment from local community groups including a pantomime, the Salvation Army band, Mother Christmas and several choirs.
“We had to remove the market before Christmas as the huts and electrics have to be removed and this takes time. We ran the market up to Sunday 23rd and then worked overnight to clear the area and tidy up. This was completed by 1pm and everything was left tidy.
“However, as the market is clearly unpopular from the comments above we will reconsider holding the event in 2019.
“We had lots of very positive comments on our Facebook page but if the people of Eastbourne don’t like the event there is no point in running it.
“Particularly as the team work so incredibly hard to make it happen, working well beyond their paid hours.
“I would not want to waste their unpaid time, and ours on an unpopular event.”
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