By David Ingham
Christmas has come early once again in Manchester with the return of the city’s much loved seasonal markets today.
The tradition first began when a group of traders from Frankfurt were invited to St Ann’s Square in 1999, to hold a small German market and this has now grown to include a total of eight locations around the city
Last year the markets attracted 1.3million people and City Centre Spokesperson, Councillor Pat Karney, has hailed the economic impact the markets have on Manchester.
“People come from far and wide to visit our Christmas markets and the figures speak for themselves,” she said.
“They keep business booming in the city and are always a big hit with shoppers who love everything they have to offer.”
In addition to the regular German and European markets in St Ann’s Square and Albert Square, this year will see the first ever French Market in King Street, where visitors can purchase continental Christmas gifts, cheese, wine and other French favourites.
The markets not only attract a large amount of visitors each Christmas, they also provide employment for both British and European citizens, with 1,246 people employed during last years trading period and more expected this time around.
While many of the stalls are run by overseas visitors, local traders are also making the most of the opportunity to earn some Christmas cash.
Michelle Partington, from Saville Hill Farm and Butchery, near Kendal, is returning once again to sell her beef, pork and turkey products in St Ann’s Square.
The steaks on sale come from British White Cattle, a traditional breed for the North West, which used to graze in the Forest of Bowland during the 15th Century.
“The Christmas market is really nice, there is always a great atmosphere here and usually everybody’s having a good time because they have had a glass of gluhwein,” she said.
“It’s always nice to see customers again and get feedback from last year’s Christmas dinner.”
Filip Antarcz, a 24 year old, from Konin in Poland, works at one of the German sausage stalls in St Ann’s Square and he said he was delighted to be here to make some money and have fun.
Speaking about Manchester, he said: “It is a really great city, the people are nice and polite and I’m very pleased to be here.”
The Christmas markets run until December 21st and more information can be found at www.manchestmarkets.com.