Town centre events success
A FULL festive programme of events is being hailed a success as thousands of visitors were attracted to Darlington town centre in a fun packed run-up to Christmas.
The first ever Ice Sculpture Trail along with a new festive shop window competition and a search for the Elf social media promotion, helped drive up the numbers of visitors to the town centre.
Alongside the new events, the traditional town centre lights switch on saw thousands of people flock to the market square for an evening of festive fun. A full programme of free festive family fun was on offer from the Cornmill and Queen Street shopping centres as well as extra Christmas market stalls. In addition, a new shopping area, The Imperial Quarter, was launched in the town, helping to create a new identity for distinct areas of the centre.
Plans are already afoot to repeat the success of the Ice Sculpture Trail and also to build on the popularity of the lights switch on by hosting it on a Sunday to become a full family fun day.
Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration said: “Our new town centre partnership and events team has worked with retailers across the town centre, the markets team and with the popular #LoveDarlo Facebook page, to devise and promote a full programme of festive events. These have helped to increase the numbers of potential customers coming to the town centre in the run up to Christmas. In addition, our parking offers meant that there was free parking after 3pm every day of the week.
“We are fully aware of the challenges facing local and national retailers and feel that this programme of festive events has helped to give a competitive edge to shopping in the town.”
Tori Gill, Managing Director of tgi MEDIA who look after the #LoveDarlo Facebook page, added: “The figures speak for themselves with visits and engagements with our page increasing by 40% in the run up to Christmas. The shop window competition and search for the Elf promotion helped to create a great deal of interest in the town centre and what was going on. Our page also includes offers, news and deals on local shops and restaurants. Hopefully, when someone visits the page, they will see lots more of what the town has to offer.”
Retailers, the markets and the council’s town centre events and partnerships team, are already working together to organise events for the year. These include an Easter Extravaganza in April and the return of the popular Food Festival and Jazz event on the first May Bank Holiday weekend. More details will be added to the council’s events pages at www.darlington.gov.uk/events