The city’s internationally renowned Frankfurt Christmas Market will open on 16th November, with the festive aroma of hot gluhwein, schnitzel and spicy sausage filling New Street and Victoria Square for nearly six weeks, until Christmas Eve.
The Birmingham Big Wheel and Ice Rink will also be returning to the city, after the council’s events team was able to identify an alternative site – Eastside Green, near Birmingham City University and Millennium Point – for these attractions.
However, the Christmas Craft Market is to be ‘rested’ and will not form part of this year’s event as the city’s transformation – including Paradise and a major refurbishment of Centenary Square – continues apace.
In total, more than £500m has been invested into these regeneration projects, which once completed are anticipated to generate around £450m economic benefit to Birmingham city centre.
Last year 4.8m people* visited the city’s Frankfurt Christmas Market during its six-week run, spending on average £44 per person (up 49% since 2014) which helped generate a total economic impact of £399.8m (up £2.8m since 2014).
Cllr Ian Ward, Interim Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The Frankfurt Christmas Market marks the start of the festive season, drawing millions of visitors to Birmingham each year, and I’m glad the iconic big wheel and ice rink will be part of this year’s festivities.
“Our decision not to stage the Christmas Craft Market follows a lengthy but sadly unsuccessful search by officers to find a suitable alternative site, in light of ongoing works transforming our city centre. However when Centenary Square is completed, it will be able to host a wide range of public events for years to come.”
Emily Danter, director of operations for Ice Skate Birmingham – which operates the big wheel and ice rink – said: “We are thrilled that with the city council’s help in identifying this site, Birmingham City University kindly allowing us to use it, and support from Eastside businesses, our big wheel and ice rink will return to the city centre next month.
“We love being part of Christmas in Birmingham and we hope residents and visitors will come and join us at Eastside Green, near Millennium Point for some festive fun.”
Tom Jenkins, manager of the proposed Digbeth and Eastside BID, said: “This is a wonderful example of how people interested in this city can work together, in this case to help secure a site for the iconic big wheel and ice rink.
“We are proud that we have persuaded everyone that this venture is in the best interests of the city. It’s going to be a fantastic Christmas.”
The big wheel and ice rink due to open from Thursday 16th November 2017 until Sunday 7th January 2018, from 10am to 10pm. In addition, there will also be attractions including roller coaster and food court. Both attractions are due to open until 1am on New Year’s Eve. Tickets can be booked at www.iceskatebirmingham.co.uk
For more details about the Frankfurt Christmas Market visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/christmas alternatively, follow @thechrismoose, the world’s only tweeting moose (to our knowledge), on Twitter.