Nottingham Christmas Market 2012
It’s that time of year again, my birthday just passed and the beginning of the Christmas season begins in Nottingham with the annual Yuletide offering in the city’s Old Market Square.
I called down at the square to view the switching on of the Christmas lights – this year by local Lowdham athlete, Richard Whitehead. The ceremony was added to by a firework display from the rooftop of the Council House at the appointed hour, a slightly strange 6.25pm precisely.
Taking the time out to have a look around this year’s Christmas Market offerings afterwards I was disappointed at how this formerly lovely and atmospheric event has been ruined. What a crushingly poor effort it is this year – even by recent deteriorating standards.
As last year, the dominating feature is a large fairground ride called ‘The North Star’ which is completely incongruous with its surroundings and with a Christmas festival. This appeared last year in place of the popular outdoor ice rink which added to the festival ‘feel’ in the centre of Nottingham. The market also it seems, is much smaller than previous incarnations.
A ‘two-storey Victorian Bar’ had been proudly advertised but this was not constructed in time for the 21st December switch-on night – the project still looking like a pile of plywood on my visit. Poor stuff. On a subsequent visit to the Square the construction looks like a Wendy House for adults. Embarrassing.
The usual rip-off prices for food and drink are present and as times get tighter I fear that many will be put off spending a little cash by this greed. Certainly I will.
I used to love frequent visits to the original German Market in the Old Market Square in Nottingham and lament its passing. There was some decent food and the little bar with quality German beer had genuine atmosphere as those of us wrapped up against the cold and trying a couple of beers and sampling the welcome would testify. What a shame this is no longer but instead replaced by a childish, sterile effort that sells pretty well what you can buy in any pub in the city. Four pounds for a small glass of Gluhwein anyone? Forget your Stollen, crepes and German sausage and get stuck into your overpriced bag of chips and cardboard burgers instead.
Sadly amongst this malaise a small shed – for I can call it little else – holding a Christmas nativity sits on the edge of proceedings looking sadly on.
I believe the people of Nottingham understand that their market square has been hijacked by local business to it’s detriment. Every local event nowadays it appears has to be dominated by fairground rides and mediocre food supplied by the same provider. This has been allowed to happen – if not actually been encouraged – by the Nottingham City Council, despite their protestations to the contrary and bright descriptions of nevertheless tawdry, cheap and insulting events such as the city’s pathetic offering in it’s main square for Christmas this year.