The ‘best ever’ Warminster Christmas celebrations lit up the town with record breaking footfall recorded on Saturday 25th November. The biggest ever event, a collaboration between the town council, Warminster Business Network, Wiltshire Council, Three Horseshoe Walk and all who took part, has been hailed as the best lights switch-on event in years with planning under way for an even bigger event next year.
Huge footfall was recorded at multiple locations across the town, at the Three Horseshoes Walk footfall on Saturday was 12,725, +57.3% on last year’s Christmas Event and +114.2% up on the previous week.
Peter Ruscoe, Three Horseshoes Walk, Centre Manager, said: “The Warminster Christmas Lights Switch-On event arranged by Warminster Council was a great success driving footfall to the town, spend in the retail outlets and providing a well appreciated community event. The footfall on the day was the highest in the Centre since we started recording footfall data back in 2015. Retailers within the scheme have also reported very strong sales. Due the success of this year’s event we are already planning how we can add more attractions for next year.”
Christmas stalls lined the High Street for the first time with the roads closed from 12pm – Sticky Toffee Jazz kick started the entertainment, singing from the steps of the Athenaeum Centre launching a day of festive fun for all which featured a huge variety of stalls, entertainment, and demonstrations.
Closing the road in the town centre created a relaxed and enjoyable experience as the Warminster community came out and supported the Warminster Independent Christmas Market with shops and stall holders reporting excellent sales and a buzzing atmosphere.
A Warminster Independent Market spokesperson added: “What a first event, streets buzzing and bustling. Friends and family out and about and visitors from all over making the trip to our lovely town.”
Businesses across the town in Chinns Court, East Street, George Steet and many more also extended opening hours and had special offers as hundreds of excited visitors arrived in Warminster throughout the day.
The Warminster Civic Centre Christmas Market in Samborne Road, was also incredibly popular, running from 10am to 4pm. Visitors were greeted with a fantastic atmosphere as multiple local stallholders filled the Centre, Santa arrived in his grotto and large crowds were entertained by the Sambourne School choir.
Lucy Guy, Civic Centre Manager, said: “It was the best Christmas Market since I’ve been Civic Centre Manager, it topped last year. The atmosphere was great, lots of excitement and a really good start to the festivities. Santa’s Grotto was a major success, along with Sambourne Primary School choir and having the food vendors (Simply Delicious Catering and Posh Crepes) outside was a huge lure for people.
“I have already got stallholders asking to book in for next year’s Christmas and Seasonal (Spring, Summer, and Autumn) Markets. The Spring Market will be in March 2024; this will also tie in with Mother’s Day, so an excellent opportunity to support local businesses and get something unique for Mother’s Day!”
Entertainment kick started at 2pm in the Market Place, with a popular mini-fairground ride for visitors to enjoy as well as brilliant live music on stage – A Sackful of Sovereigns, Warminster Rock Choir and the Vocal Works Gospel Choir, who stole the show – ahead of the Market Place Lights Switch-On at 5.30pm. Warminster Community Radio were also in attendance broadcasting live for those who could not make it in person.
Huge crowds gathered for the all-important switch-on as the lights were turned on by The Mayor of Warminster Cllr Philip Keeble, the Town Crier and Father Christmas, as the impressive lights lit up Warminster in front of a record attendance.
The Mayor of Warminster, Cllr Philip Keeble said: “The whole day was incredible and a great day for Warminster and local businesses. The Civic Centre Christmas Market had record attendance and the new Warminster Independent Market was fantastic with stalls from local traders and beyond also attracting large crowds into the town. It was wonderful to see so many people out enjoying the town and supporting local businesses. The highlight of course was the switching on of the Christmas lights and for me personally it was a great honour to press the button.”
A Warminster Town Council spokesperson added: “There were so many positive aspects of the day – all under one event the Warminster Christmas Celebrations 2023 – a packed Civic Centre market, brilliant atmosphere at the Warminster Independent Market and brilliant live music ahead of the switch-on. It was a collaboration between the town council, Warminster Business Network, Wiltshire Council, Three Horseshoe Walk. Particular mention must go to Iris and Olive and Cornhylle for the success of the Warminster Independent Market.”
Planning for next year’s event has already begun, there will also be more big events in 2024 such as 100 years of the Lake Pleasure Grounds. Warminster Town Council wants to work with the whole of the town and with the Warminster community to put on super events that benefit all.
Last modified: 19 December 2023