Festive market future in doubt

By Kiri Gillespie

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It was a Christmas wonderland complete with snow, carols and gingerbread men.

But the weekend's Tauranga Mid-winter Christmas Market failed to break even and there is doubt it will be held next year.

Organisers behind the event, held at Tauranga's Historic Village on Saturday, said feedback had been positive but financially the event did not meet expectations.

Gabrielle Williams, who organised the market with Paulina Schumacher and Maree Knudsen-Cook, said they had not yet calculated final attendance numbers, but the event had run at a loss.

"We did not break even this year. That's because the numbers were down a bit on last year. I think that's the rain. People don't want to come out as much," Ms Williams said. "You can't control the weather."

This year's 48 stalls were double the number last year. Fake snow, carollers and Christmas lights helped to add to the atmosphere with live entertainment and competitions.

"We are hoping to do go back to the drawing board a bit so we can bring it back but if we keep turning up a loss, we personally can't do this. We can't keep recording losses each year.

"It all depends on the public and if they come."

Ms Williams said despite the financial disappointment the market was well received.

"So far it's all been positive thank goodness," Ms Williams said. "People said it was a lot more organised this year and it went more smoothly. So far, honestly, I haven't heard any negative feedback."

Ms Williams said the event was more family focussed this year, and offered children meet-and-greets with popular Christmas characters such as Frosty the Snowman and The Grinch.

Children were also able to decorate their own gingerbread men and to call Santa on a hotline to request specific presents.

Mulled cider was on offer for adults, along with gift and food stalls.

"I was just awesome to see the community come down and enjoy it. It was an awesome atmosphere," Ms Williams said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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