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Countdown to Christmas Shopping at annual Guildhall Craft Fair

05 October 2018

The countdown to one of the city’s most loved retail events has begun today with the launch of the Guildhall Craft Fair, which boasts the best of local and regional craft produce for sale as part of the city and district’s unique Christmas offering.

Now in its 24th year, this annual event showcases a wide range of bespoke craft items created by craft designers-makers and artists across Ireland and has become a calendar event within the sector due to the high standard of goods for sale. It is the event of choice for many makers and artists as no imported or bought in work is allowed at the event, with all of the goods on display being handmade in Ireland.

The fair takes place from Friday 23rd until Sunday 25th November in the stunning setting of the historic Guildhall located in the heart of the city centre and with the exquisite crafts on offer and a support programme of live music it’s no wonder that the event is renowned for attracting a large number of visitors looking for that special gift or purchase.

This year’s fair is slightly later than previous years, opening its doors to the public on the day after the city’s Christmas lights Switch on which is due to take place on the evening of Thursday 22nd November and the aim is that a new generation of shoppers will be introduced to the magical event as the Christmas shopping season begins in earnest.

Over 40 high-end craft producers and exhibitors have signed up to exhibit in the stunning setting of the Gothic building to offer the North West's largest range of contemporary and traditional crafts for sale. 

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle says the Guildhall Craft Fair provides everyone with the opportunity to purchase that unique Christmas gift as there is a vast array of high-end goods on offer at a range of prices that will suit every purse.

“This event is testament to the talent and skill that is alive today within the craft sector and is the perfect chance for the Council to showcase local and visiting talent and to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity.  All of these craftspeople are getting ready to welcome in excess of 4000 people to the city over that weekend and with the preparations that are going on throughout the craft sector I’m confident it will be a great success.”

One of the local producers taking part in the Craft Fair this year is Eglinton based glass crafter, Natasha Duddy. A regular contributor to the fair, Natasha believes it provides a great forum for her to showcase her products to her customers and meet with new buyers.

“I have been taking part in the Craft Fair since as far back as 1999 and I really enjoy it. The Guildhall is a spectacular building and there is always a lovely festive friendly atmosphere at the event. The Craft Fair is hugely popular and I am in no doubt that it is the best event of its kind in Ireland. It’s the perfect location for me to showcase my work, meet my customers, make new contacts and meet with other craft producers to share ideas and learn from one another. It’s a great event, a really unique fair that I feel honoured to be part of it.”

The event will feature 45 craft stands on the upper floor of the Guildhall, 53% of which are from the North West with over half of these being specific to the DCSDC region. The event will also feature an artisan food hall in the ground floor of the Guildhall with 7 stands selling bespoke products and tasty treats.

The fair runs from 23 - 25 November and opening times are Friday (12 noon to 7pm), Saturday (10am – 6pm) and Sunday (11am – 6pm).   Admission fee is £1 per adult and free for children under the age of 14. 

Helena Hasson, Event Co-Ordinator with Derry City and Strabane District Council says: “By linking the event to the ‘Christmas Lights Switch On’ we are hoping to attract a new generation of craft fair fans, the event is visited by people from across the region who include it on their Christmas shopping list every year. We’ve also extended the number of craft stands to 45, the largest number ever featured in a bid to accommodate an increased footfall. As always there are returning exhibitors as well as new faces, all of which bring something unique and of value that contributes to this being such a special event.

She continued: “‘A visit to the fair is the ultimate festive day out, browse around the countless craft stands and artisan food hall in search of that special present, enjoy the seasonal music performed by local choirs and musicians and then take to one of the many coffee shops and restaurants surrounding the Guildhall to soak in the atmosphere and Christmas lights.”

For more information about the Craft Fair visit – www.derrystrabane.com/craftfair

The Craft Fair marks the start of the city’s Festive celebrations and full details are available atwww.derrystrabane.com/christmas