PEOPLE taking a journey into Banbury tomorrow (Friday) will also take a trip back in time as a Victorian market descends upon the town centre.
Cherwell district and Banbury town councils have teamed up with retailers and market operator Sketts to organise the event to boost trade in the town centre.
A special market will be held in Market Place from 9am to 8pm while costumed entertainers including stilt walkers and Banbury town crier Anthony Church will be spread about the town where independent traders will dress in period attire and serve customers from the street.
Rhiannon Evans, press officer for Banbury Old Town Association which represents businesses in Church Lane, White Lion Walk and Parsons Street, said: “Traders from Banbury’s Old Town are looking forward to having fun tomorrow (Friday) by dressing up as Victorians, serving customers outside their shops and providing free samples and tastings. This is the first time Banbury town traders have treated shoppers to the Victorian Christmas market, a seasonal experience which has been sponsored and supported by Cherwell District Council.
“Shops will be open until 8pm and traders are getting in the Christmas spirit by offering an opportunity to win a goody bag of gifts donated by specialist shops in the Old Town in a Christmas Shopping Crawl. Customers spending £50 or more at participating traders will have their names put in a draw for a goody bag worth £75 of exciting prizes. All in all a wonderful new festive attraction to add to a memorable Christmas shopping experience in the historic town centre.”
People visiting the town will be able to indulge in mulled wine and roasted chestnuts while youngsters will also have the chance to win vouchers worth up to £100 in the Reindeer Trail.
Castle Quay has hidden nine reindeers in the shopping centre and old town and Santa will be handing out maps for children to discover their whereabouts. Those who do will be entered into a draw to win the vouchers.
Cllr Kieron Mallon, leader of Banbury Town Council, said: “Banbury’s Christmas market should be a tremendous boost to the town in the run-up to the festive season. I hope shoppers will turn out in their thousands to see what is on offer and will spend money in the town’s shops and at the stalls.”
Cllr Norman Bolster, Cherwell’s lead member for estates and the economy, said: “We are pulling out the stops in a bid to boost trade and this will really get people into the Christmas spirit.”