TRADERS and community leaders are confident plans to have a six-week fun fair in Blackpool to celebrate Christmas will help draw in the crowds.
Christmas will be celebrated in the resort with the ‘launch event’, complete with a family fun fair, a light show, entertainment and a food and drink emporium in the town centre.
The festive lights will still be turned on by the mayors of Fylde, Blackpool and Wyre to kick off the launch event on November 22 in St John’s Square, which will then run until January 4.
Even though there will be no celebrity switch-on, locals feel the launch event, organised by Blackpool Business Improvement District (BID), will bring more people into Blackpool.
Jim Conaughton, owner of Jagar Jewellers in Cedar Square, said the launch event had the potential to increase footfall in the town.
He said: “From a trader’s point of view, the more events there are going on, the more people will be drawn to the area. The switch-on is a real problem as it’s costing the council a great deal of money for a one-day event.”
Vice chairman of Revoe Area Forum, Julie Bascombe, said: “Personally, rather than one big switch-on that a lot of people can’t get to, this is ideal.
“Parents who are unable to get to the one big event can get to at least one event over this six weeks.
“At the end of the day, how much money do we have to pay these celebrities who come in to turn the lights on at Christmas or for the Illuminations? Let’s put the money where it’s needed.”
Warwick Tunnicliffe, chairman of the St John’s and Cedar Square Traders’ Association, said it would be nice to have one big switch-on, as well as the launch event.
“It would be nice to combine the two, but we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed and wait and see how it goes,” he said.
“Let’s hope it does well and draws people into St John’s Square.”
But the lack of a big switch-on event has left one Blackpool family feeling a little underwhelmed.
Nicola Dickworth, who lives on Eccleston Road, South Shore, said without any dramatic switch-on, her poorly grandmother will not be travelling to the resort from Wales.
The 28-year-old said: “Ten minutes down the road, Lytham has Russell Watson.
“It’s disappointing there’s not going to be anything like that in Blackpool.
“I think a lot of people will be disappointed by this.”
But town centre BID manager Eileen Ormand said: “Feedback from the businesses about the switch-on is they want something which goes on longer.”