Personal view: Five things I've learned from my first time at Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre
I’ve written articles about Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre, but until last weekend I’d never actually been.
In fact, the market was so large that I couldn’t really not go, even if I do live in Moreton Hall.
My first day at the Bury Free Press was December 31 last year, so the event was long-finished, but all year I have been promised something spectacular, so I am keen to check it out. Here are five lessons I will take away from it:
1. Believe the hype
The Christmas Fayre was many things, but underwhelming it was not. Unlike the five stalls and accordion player I’m used to back home (no offence to Tonbridge, we do our best) this was an event worth the fanfare. The hundreds of stalls, I was expecting, but the music, rides, entertainment and the size of the crowds was a surprise. It’s not only an event worthy of the hype - but something Bury can be truly proud of.
2. Book restaurants well in advance
Despite the vast amount of food stalls on offer, Bury’s eateries were not short of business. So much so, that even on Sunday morning, a reservation was required to have breakfast at one café. Get booking for 2020 now.
3. Do not attempt to take a bike through the centre
Cycling through town was never really an option, but the crowds were so dense that even pushing my bike was a struggle. Anyone who has felt a peddle bang onto the back of a leg will know it is not a feeling you wish to replicate hundreds of times in a ten minute period. Still, it was better than attempting to drive and I am pleased to stay my car stayed at home for as long as the fayre was on. It was nice to see the park and ride schemes so well-used as well as the extra trains put on for Ipswich. I now have a year to find a place to lock my bike on the edge of the town centre to avoid feeling like I’m about to be trampled in a stampede. That is unless West Suffolk Council fancies introducing a cycling equivalent of park and ride (lock and rickshaw?).
4. Dodgems are still fun
I can’t remember the last time I had a go on dodgems and I’m almost nervous about going back on in-case it is not as good as I remember. I shouldn't have worried. Dodgems are great!Because of the sheer number of people it is hard to build up speed as the cars group together. It's a bit like being stuck in traffic, if being stuck in traffic allowed you to barge other cars out of the way and that also being fun and legal.
5. Enjoy it while it lasts
My German companion was surprised, and disappointed, on Sunday evening to see the stalls being packed away. Christmas markets she is used to in Berlin are only just beginning at the end of November and will stay in operation right through until New Year. Considering the rush of crowds into Bury for this weekend - extending the fayre and relaxing the event feels a good idea.