THE first of two weekend Skipton Christmas Markets took part last Sunday, with thousands of visitors enjoying festive entertainment and a cold but sunny winter’s day.

Part two of the annual event, which attracts coach parties from across the country, is due to take place this Sunday with the High Street once again closed to traffic.

Visitors poured into the town centre for the market, named as the ‘best speciality market’ in last year’s Great British Market Awards.

In addition to the usual market, there was an additional more than 50 stalls, featuring some of the region’s favourite artisan makers, crafters and gift stalls selling a whole range of Christmas-themed products.

This year’s event is the 25th anniversary of when the town first staged Christmas markets. Kerry Wheelwright, the town council’s events and tourism manager, said this Sunday would once again be packed with entertainment for the family.

“This event is such a key event for retailers and market traders in town we are delighted the event has been going for 25 years and are continuously looking at ways to evolve the event so it can keep going for another 25 years,” she said.

“We pride ourselves on the entertainment we provide for the Skipton Christmas Markets – its what creates the festive atmosphere, the wonderful experience and the memories for event goers. Our team puts a lot of effort in to providing an exceptional entertainment schedule and this year will better than ever before.”

Members of Skipton Rotary Club were so busy at their mulled wine stall, they had to send out for supplies. “The stall was incredibly busy and ran out of our famous deliciously fruity mulled wine so had to go out to buy further supplies to satisfy the demand, It was a great day,” said Rotarian, Peter Watson.

New for this year is the introduction of a live music stage featuring plenty of local bands and musicians playing festive songs to keep the crowds entertained. Back Chat Brass will be headlining the stage with their modern and lively take on brass band music. As usual there will be plenty of walkabout entertainment, snow, a Santa’s grotto, brass bands and carols.

The event will conclude with a Torchlight Procession and a carol service in the grounds of Holy Trinity Church.

The Christmas markets are organised by the town council in partnership with Skipton BID.

Overnight parking on the High Street setts will be suspended on Saturday, and the High Street will be closed from around 5am. There will be a coach drop off point at Coach Street Car Park.