The festive season is going to look a bit different this year in St Albans, as the city’s annual Christmas Cracker event is being transformed into a ‘virtual experience.’ This is due to the current restrictions surrounding Covid-19. The event usually attracts crowds of over 12,000 into the city centre for a six hour street party, and ends with the Christmas lights being switched on. However, under current guidelines large gatherings are prohibited as people must adhere to the rule of six.
St Albans City and District Council has made the decision to ‘reimagine’ the festivities and move some online, ‘so that Christmas can still be celebrated by the community.’ The planned digital celebrations will include ‘music from local performers, workshops on making sustainable decorations,’ along with ‘children’s stories.’ Additionally, there will be competitions and ‘tips’ from the city’s ‘top chefs’ for making Christmas meals and cocktails.
The crowd enjoying 2019's Christmas Cracker celebrations. Picture: St Albans City and District Council.
Yet one event still set to take place in St Albans is the Charter Christmas Market. It will open every day from Saturday 12th December until Christmas Eve. Alongside the regular traders, there will be ‘some opportunities’ for new stall holders to sell ‘seasonal products.’ Furthermore, St Albans Business Improvement District (BID) in conjunction with ‘other partners’ are arranging ‘a host’ of additional ‘Christmas events.’ This encompasses adorning the city centre with Christmas decorations, together with ‘urging’ residents ‘to Shop Safely and Shop Local.’
The BID is also making plans for ‘a Christmas Trail, Santa Post Boxes’ and Pop-Up markets starting from Monday 30th November. They will once more work with organisations such as a foodbank, Herts Young Homeless, and other not-for-profit charities. The aim is to support people ‘in need’ through the festive season.
Councillor Mandy McNeil, Portfolio Holder for Business, Tourism and Culture, said:
“Our focus this year will be raising funds and awareness for charities. Christmas is going to be tough for everyone but coming together as a community, whether online or on the ground, to help others is what St Albans does best and our community engagement team are working hard to support a compassionate community-focused Christmas.”
Councillor McNeil added the district council wants ‘to ensure ‘that there is still a great festive atmosphere in the city centre’ over the holiday period, so residents can ‘celebrate Christmas.’ Finally, she stated people ‘will be’ encouraged ‘to continue to shop and dine out locally,’ in order ‘to support’ the high street and local businesses.
More details about the online Christmas Cracker event are set to appear in the weeks ahead on: https://www.enjoystalbans.com