Sleaford Christmas Market goes ahead despite storm forecasts

Doubts over whether Sleaford Christmas Market would go ahead due to concerns about high winds and rain forecast caused some confusion this morning (Sunday).

Organisers of Sleaford’s Teenage Market, which was running alongside the town’s main Christmas Market, took the decision yesterday (Saturday) to postpone by a week after forecasts of high winds meant they might be liable for damage or injury.

Crowds fill Sleaford's Southgate for today's Christmas market. EMN-151129-182151001

Crowds fill Sleaford's Southgate for today's Christmas market. EMN-151129-182151001

However, with Christmas outdoor events being called off in Spalding and Stamford, many stallholders were unsure whether the main event in Sleaford would still go ahead, after the Teenage Market announcement on social media.

Organisers spent much of last night contacting traders to convince them the main market was still going ahead.

Mayor of Sleaford Garry Titmus said: “Some stall holders cancelled because of the wind forecast and we have had lots of telephone calls asking whether it was going ahead.”

He said he was “disappointed” at some of the misinformation that had been shared on social media.

One of the Christmas Market’s organising group, Jan Brealycook, said some confusion was caused by a social media message showing the Teenage Market logo with the words ‘Christmas Market Cancelled’ across it.

She said: “Most stallholders thought we were closed and most of the town too. It is just unfortunate.”

But she said about three quarters of traders still turned up and there was a great turn out for the Santa Run.

However, Sleaford Town Team, which runs the Teenage Market, insisted its information had been clear. Chairman Clare Rayner said they would have been negligent to continue with the |teenage event and risk an accident with the stalls and gazebos if caught by high winds.

The Teenage Market was to be located at the side of the Barge and Bottle on Carre Street and they have been told they can hold it next weekend instead.

She said their gazebos and performance tent were only rated to handle winds of up to 25mph. The Town Team would be potentially directly liable for damage or injury due to its insurance, whereas market traders on the main market had their own indemnity insurance, she explained.

Commenting on their Facebook messages, Mrs Rayner said this morning: “It very clearly said that only Sleaford Teenage Market, which was happening concurrently with the town market, was withdrawing because of the weather. Some people have not really read it properly and there was some unnecessary panic. Some people have chosen not to come because of the weather concerns and some have packed up and left. We have already seen one gazebo take off.”

Crowds still turned out in large numbers and filled the town for much of the day to enjoy the entertainmentin the Market Place, visit Santa’s Grotto, browse the stalls for gifts and look around the Christmas Tree Festival in the Methodist Church.

The event was opened by the Town Crier and the Mayor who paid tribute to organisers and stallholders for forging ahead when other towns had seen their events cancelled.

The Christingle filled St Denys’ Church this afternoon, but the heavens opened at around 2.30pm, putting a dampener on the traditional festive lights switch on finale. Organisers felt that despite the forecast, the main event was an overall success, apologising for the lack of lights in the Market Place after not being able to gain permission to locate a large tree in the centre of the square, festooned with lights. The rst of the town has been illuminated.