Thousands turn out to South Shields Christmas market as first event is hailed a ‘huge success’
Thousands got their Christmas shopping wrapped up at South Shields’ first outdoor festive market this weekend.
Organisers have estimated around 30,000 shoppers hit Market Place over the course of the day for the outdoor Christmas market which took place on Saturday, December 7.
Jarrow businesswoman, Carol Gibson teamed up with Josh Trueman of JT Workshops and market manager David Amess to put on the event as part of a campaign to breathe new life back into a once-thriving South Shields market.
Their Facebook group ‘Bring South Shields market back to the way it was’ attracted more than 3,000 people within the first 24 hours with huge demand for a festive fair.
On Saturday the market square hosted more than 70 stalls selling a variety of festive goods and gifts, while entertainers got everyone into the Christmas spirit.
The day saw performances from local singers Amelia Saleh and Lilly Cooke, line dancers and a brass band, while little ones queued up to visit Santa’s grotto.
Residents have said the event “brought the community back together”, with organisers hailing it a “huge success”.
Carol said: “It was amazing, there was a really good feel to the whole day.
“We had people come from all over, including Durham and Scotland.
“People are saying that it brought back that community feel, they saw people they haven’t seen for years.”
Volunteers from Cancer Research fundraisers the Lavender Lasses put on a free shuttle bus to the market from the transport interchange and there was free parking in the town centre all day.
Carol continued: “A lot of the traders have said they had a brilliant day, the best they have had for years and quite a few sold out.
“All the shops were busy and King Street was bustling.”
The campaign group will now host a run of six markets in the new year, with a focus on entertainment and attracting new traders to the town.
“I now have about 30 traders wanting to come to next year’s markets and some of those from the event are wanting to be there next week, so its creating a snowballing effect,” added Carol.
“It was a huge success.”