Huntingdonshire was able to celebrate thanks to Think Local

St Neots Xmas Market December 11 2021.

St Neots Xmas Market December 11 2021. - Credit: Matthew Power Photography

HDC’s Think Local campaign got Huntingdonshire residents in the festive spirit with an extensive programme of autumnal events, supported by the Welcome Back Fund.

After the challenging festive period of 2020, the Think Local campaign sought to celebrate the season in style in 2021, beginning with the St Ives Christmas Lights Switch On, delivered in partnership with St Ives Town Council.

On-stage entertainment, markets stalls and fireworks brought many new and familiar faces into the town, with the switch-on seeing a 106% spike in footfall compared with the previous Saturday.

This was followed by the ever-successful Christmas Saturdays throughout December in all four of the district’s market towns, offering festive stalls from local businesses, music, mulled wine, on-street entertainers, and even a visit from Santa. 

The high street itself was lit up for Christmas with the decorative windows of the district’s diverse independent businesses, all of whom had the chance of entering HDC’s Best Dressed Christmas Window Competition.

St Ives Christmas Market December 4 2021.

St Ives Christmas Market December 4 2021. - Credit: Matthew Power Photography

Competition entrants were given the opportunity to attend an expert marketing workshop, with one business from each town winning the grand prize of a marketing makeover from an award-winning digital marketing agency, Sookio.

Speaking about the competition, Graeme from competition winner James Cox, a business that’s been on Huntingdon High Street for 129 years, said: "It's always an exciting challenge to dress our Christmas window displays. This year we had such positive comments from our customers throughout the festive period.

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"To have won the first prize in the Best Dressed Christmas Window Competition was very rewarding.

"The meeting with Sookio was very positive, and I'm sure it will help us going forward as we continue to adapt the business, as we have over the last 129 years."

Through the Think Local campaign, the Council also worked closely with local partners to sponsor other free of charge events for the community, like the Spooky Mask Making at St Neots Museum with local artist Linton Bocock and the Halloween Spooktacular in partnership with the Ramsey Neighbourhood Trust.

This popular event saw visitors treated to fancy dress competitions for all ages, reenactors and storytellers, alongside a wide range of family-friendly activities, like broom making and pumpkin carving, plus a festive market and food stalls.