We were over the moon to be given the news from Dumfries & Galloway Council that The Guild Dumfries C.I.C will the lead delivery partner working in partnership with the council to organise the Christmas Lights Switch On in Dumfries this year, so we'll be responsible for organising the whole shebang! We want this event to be a true community affair. We are collaborating and working in partnership with many other organisations, businesses, community groups and individuals, to play a lead role in delivering a memorable festive experience in Dumfries town centre for all the community.
In 2018 we worked in partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Council along with other partners to deliver a Makers Market that was part of the Christmas Lights Switch On. The Guild organised an extremely successful market that attracted thousands of visitors to the town centre and despite the awful weather, spirits were certainly not dampened. Dumfries town centre became a bustling market town, filled with a whole host of local stallholders. Our traders had a great day of sales with at least two selling out of their stock completely! There was a huge amount of feedback from visitors about the quality of our traders from across the region & beyond.
At last year makers market we collaborated with over 20 local makers, food & drinks producers, charities, community organisations and street food vendors and programmed creative workshops and children’s activities as part of our market experience. We created a welcoming and inviting destination for the community, even in the pouring rain! We set up a notice board in our gazebo, encouraging visitors to pin a comment card with feedback. Many of the messages brought tears of joy, all extremely positive, with hopes that the market will become a regular occurence, with more stalls, growing bigger and better with each event.
The response from the community after the event suggested a strong desire for a Christmas Makers Market to continue. The Guild are keen to build on this previous experience so we can create a festive celebration and an even bigger Makers Market this year. Our Christmas Festival will take place on Sunday 1st December 2019 from 12 noon until 6pm so we hope you can join us, why not let us know you are coming, rsvp to our official event and invite friends and family to come along too!
Andy Ferguson, Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee welcomed the decision. He said;
“Our Council is delighted that The Guild has agreed to organise the Christmas Lights Switch On in Dumfries this year as part of their Christmas Festival. It is a wonderful family-friendly day and is very much the wake up call that many of us need to start the Christmas planning, when the lights go on in our wee toon. I look forward to working with The Guild on this project, and hopefully others in the future too.”
The Guild want to create a Christmas Festival around the whole of the town centre, with events and entertainment happening not just along the High Street, but in other premises and side streets too. We hope that both retailers and businesses throughout the town get behind this community festive extravaganza and stay open late on the day. Previously footfall to the Christmas Light Switch on has been around 3000 people but with partnerships, collaboration, and hopefully kinder weather this year we can work together to play a part in delivering a memorable community event in Dumfries town centre which can be be enjoyed by all.
We hope that this years footfall will attract even more to the town on the day and we feel it is extremely important they also take advantage of the increased footfall expected in the town on the day to encourage the message of Shop Local. We have many superb businesses located in our town centre and we wish them to benefit from this festival experience and share in the overall sense of community. We would actively encourage and support any other activities and fringe events that the town centre businesses wish to host by signposting these to visitors on market day.
PHOTO CREDIT: Joanna Wright