Town centre comes alive as Christmas shoppers treated to festive entertainment

Posted 5th December 2023

Rowdy grannies, ghetto-blasting Santas and an Elton John lookalike with a moving piano all converged on St Giles Street to boost Northampton’s Christmas celebrations.

The event, organised by Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID), saw shoppers treated to performances by singer Millie Stevenson and The Old Savoy jazz band while a stilt-walking ice queen, the Elvish Presleys and Musical Ruth all added to the feelgood festive fun.

The inaugural ‘Festive Celebration in the Cultural Quarter’ saw St Giles Street closed off to traffic for the day, allowing performers to mingle with shoppers as they supported independent retailers on Small Business Saturday.

Mark Mullen, operations manager for Northampton Town Centre BID, said: “This was the first time we have had a full street closure for an event and the initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Businesses have said they were busy and the atmosphere in the town centre was absolutely brilliant, with smiles on shoppers’ faces throughout the day despite the freezing cold conditions.

“We are very grateful to all those businesses who supported this event, particularly Montague Jeffery and Vintage Guru for organising Millie and the jazz band. This was the perfect example of the business community coming together to put on something the whole town could enjoy.

“We know this Christmas will be challenging for businesses with all the redevelopment going on in the town centre but with a bit of imagination we can still make it work. This was a fun way to get in the festive spirit.”

As well as the celebrations in St Giles Street, Father Christmas saw hundreds of children visit his Grosvenor Centre grotto. The grotto, organised by the BID, built by Northampton College and part-funded by Northampton Town Council, will be back open next weekend.

An interactive song lyric trail, organised by the BID and funded by West Northamptonshire Council, also went live on the Loyal Free app and will run throughout December.

The BID’s annual Golden Ticket giveaway is also up and running, with four prizes of £500 in high street shopping vouchers up for grabs. To enter, simply make a purchase at a town centre retailer and post your ticket into one of 10 specially commissioned postboxes found at businesses around the town.

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