This weekend should have been one of the most magical in York’s calendar.
A time when we staged a festive show like no other city. When a few of our old streets twinkled and sparkled with stunning ice sculptures.
Where ‘snow’ was guaranteed, and it wouldn’t turn into slippy slush. Where street artists would entertain the crowds with music or circus skills.
And where warming food and drink was available from stalls staffed by traders who had fully entered into the spirit.
The York Festival Of Angels was a special weekend. And this year it has melted into oblivion, for the sake of a few thousand pounds.
It must return next year. And here’s why.
1. It embodies the true spirit of Christmas
Why was the Festival Of Angels so special? Because, unlike almost anything else staged at this time of year by our city and all others, it wasn’t first and foremost about money.
It was about the real spirit of Christmas: families, togetherness, fun. You could enjoy all of the festival’s marvels without putting your hand in your pocket.
As founder Magdalena Chavez told us, when we first revealed the festival was off:
“A wander through the streets without having to dig deep in the pocket for everyone to be enchanted is priceless.”
2. The ice art is unbelievable
Photographs © Allan Harris on Flickr. Click to see a bigger image
3. It brings the city together
We have been inundated by comments from residents who can’t believe that one of their favourite treats of the year has disappeared.
– Louise Clarke
– Sue F
4. And it attracts thousands of visitors
In 2013, the Festival Of Angels attracted record numbers. A footfall-counter on Parliament Street was activated 109,316 times during the festival weekend – up 38 per cent on the equivalent weekend in 2012.
Back then, council leader James Alexander said:
We have been contacted by two travel operators who were planning to bring coaches filled with visitors to the city for the Festival Of Angels.
No one had told them it was off and they only found out via YorkMix. They have now cancelled the trips.
Many others have told us via our comments section that they have cancelled their plans to come here for the weekend…
– Deb Hill
– Sarah Knowlson
5. It’s an antidote to festive stress
This is how Festival Of Angels founder Magdelena Chavez puts it, and it is hard to disagree.
6. We are a ‘city of festivals’
Much time, money and effort has been expended on establishing York as a year-round “City of Festivals”.
Now one of the best-loved and most popular festivals has been pulled, and with little or no effort to tell anyone.
People are understandably dismayed. How can we turn that around?
By pledging to renew the Festival Of Angels in 2015, with full backing from the council, the new marketing agency Make It York, and the traders.
7. Christmas isn’t the same without it
So come on York – bring back the Angels in 2015!