Peterborough Festive Food & Gift Show organisers promise to return bigger and better after mixed reviews and angry traders at weekend event

Santa visiting Peterborough's Festive Food & Gift Show
Santa visiting Peterborough's Festive Food & Gift Show

The organisers of Peterborough's Festive Food & Gift Show have promised an improved event next year after some very mixed reviews and angry traders following the weekend's fair.

The event was held at the East of England Arena and Events Centre between Friday and Sunday, November 16-18, with tickets initially sold for £12. However these were quickly discounted to £3 after negative feedback from shoppers on the Friday evening.

And it wasn't just shoppers who were unhappy, traders have this week taken to social media and contacted the Peterborough Telegraph complaining about the event.

Trader Adam James posted on Facebook: "The event was sold to us as one of the biggest in the geographic region. There would be 6 zones of shops with 200 trade stalls, in truth, there were only 40 stall holders, along with the promise of a "Winter Wonderland Feel" - The venue was sparsely decorated, bleak and certainly lacking anything "festive".

Shopper Courtney Alice added: "Extremely disappointing, expected a slight wow factor walking in for the price and also disappointed with the number of stalls, very basic & minimal, not much effort put in to set up and range of stalls.

"Majority of stalls selling scented candles/infusers etc & not many actual Christmas stalls. Was looking forward to this event but came out let down, but there was a lovely food stall of homemade bread, savouries & sweets which is the only stall I spent money on. Hopefully next year more decorations, more stalls & more stall diversity. Needs a lot of work."

But, the organisers of the event have promised to return next year with a much improved offering.

Posting on Facebook, the event's organisers said: "This was our first Christmas event at the Arena and we are so proud to have welcomed more than 2,400 visitors.

"Friday evening received mixed reviews unfortunately, with some feeling that they were expecting more for the entry price. We don't like disappointment and so we took immediate action and amended the entry fee to £3 per person and will be refunding the difference to all tickets holders, so everyone has paid the same entry price, whilst also refunding in full where ticket holders changed their mind.

"Our smaller visitors loved the mini fair rides, while their adults loved the free price tag. Santa was as professional as ever and every child took away an amazing free picture with Santa, which we're sure will be a treasured momento for years to come!

"There was fun in the festive photobooth, workshops and live music, but we also now realise that our adult visitors really do want to shop till they drop and although no two pop up shops were the same, we can appreciate that 45 stall wasn't enough to wet the appetite of a serious Christmas Shopper, so we'll be making it our mission to source as many great stalls as we can physically fit into the space for next year, while offering stalls for all budgets.

"Unfortunately the £1000's spent with the chosen Prop Venue Dressing suppliers didn't align with our vision and so we will be making this our mission to decorate the venue ourselves for all future events!

"Our visitors have spoken and we've listened closely and the feedback from our visitors and exhibitors has given us some amazing and constructive feedback and we will come back in 2019 with an event to make Peterborough proud! We hope 'We Love Peterborough' will join us again next year."

And not all customers were disappointed, Hayley Brackley posted: "We came, we paid £3 per adult, children were free. There is a selection of free fairground rides, a free visit to Father Christmas, with a photo and sweetie included. Plenty of food and drink, and some really good unique stalls. An absolute bargain if you have children and so quiet- no queues and plenty of free parking!"