THE feelgood factor and the festive spirit combined to help get the first day of the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre off to a great start, yesterday.

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An estimated 15,000 people were thought to have flocked to the town and thousands more are expected today and tomorrow for the annual event.

Some 80 coaches, loaded with eager visitors, came to Bury and a further 120 are expected over the next two days for the fayre which injects over £1m into the local economy and brings in 100,000 people.

Trade was brisk for many of the 300 stalls situated on Angel Hill, the Abbey Gardens, Hatter Street, Cornhill, Buttermarket, the Arc Shopping Centre and inside the Athenaeum, Cornhill Walk and the Apex.

And many of the shops and restaurants were also seen to be full of customers and people browsing.

Entertainment was in full swing on the Greene King Stage, on Angel Hill, and the Music Sales Stage, in Charter Square, and a full programme has been arranged for the rest of the weekend featuring an array of local acts and artists.

Children enjoyed fairground rides and organisers were hoping for the weather to stay fine after yesterday’s “great” start and advised people to arrive early today.

“Traditionally tomorrow is our busiest day but we’ve got off to a great start,” said Robert Everitt, St Edmundsbury Borough councillor and a member of the Christmas Fayre committee. “We reckon we will have more people here this year than last year and it just goes from strength to strength.

“It amazes me to see the whole of the town heaving with people and I just love the event. It really helps to put Bury on the map. What it does mean is that people see the town and come back again and again.”

Extra stalls, a provision market and a Farmers’ Market tomorrow have been added to the event which has grown year on year since being first launched nine years ago and it has become the fourth biggest Christmas Fayre of its kind in the country.

The event is driven by Sharon Fairweather, the fayre’s events manager, and she was also delighted with the first day.

She offered words of advice for people planning to visit over the weekend.

“We are expecting quite a lot more people and more coaches so plan your journey and make the most of park and ride.

“On Saturday we go through to 7pm and it’s a marvellous atmosphere later in the day when it gets dark.”

If you are going along, send us your iwitness photos via suffolk.iwitness24.co.uk

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