South Tyneside traders will travel to the continent this week to represent the Borough at one of its French twin town’s Christmas market.
A trio of local traders will help to mark half a century of twinning between the town of Jarrow and Epinay sur Seine by showcasing their seasonal wares at the French town’s annual festive fair.
Epinay’s traditional outdoor Christmas market, complete with wooden chalets and an open-air ice rink, is one of main highlights of the town’s yuletide celebrations.
Visitors to this year’s market will be able to sample South Tyneside specialities including Minchella & Co’s famous ice cream as well as handmade gifts from Light Source Art and unique sea glass jewellery by Ocean Colours.
Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “It is wonderful that our world-famous ice cream and handcrafted gifts created by our local talented traders will be sampled by people across the Channel.
“This is a brilliant opportunity for our traders to find out more about Epinay at this wonderful time of year and to share with people from the town something different for them to try this festive season.
“The visit will be extra special as we will not only be celebrating Christmas but also the 50th anniversary of Jarrow’s town twinning with Epinay sur Seine. What better way to mark the occasion than with an opportunity to strengthen friendships and find out more about each other’s towns?”
Over 3,000 people are expected to attend and enjoy the spectacular three-day festive fair and its range of handcrafted gifts and goodies. Joe Minchella, manager of Minchella & Co, said: “It is a privilege to be invited to go over to Epinay and represent South Tyneside at a continental market. We are really excited to be going over as this will be the furthest we’ve ever taken our ice cream and it will be the first time we have sold our ice cream in another country.
“We will be taking over a selection of our staple flavours as well as our seasonal specials including our Christmas pudding flavoured ice cream as well as a selection of our festive hampers and Minchella & Co merchandise.”
In the 50 years of the town twinning, hundreds of cultural, sporting and educational exchanges have taken place. They range from exchanges involving school children and young people to visits by artists, choirs and musicians.