Exeter’s iconic Cathedral Green wears a forlorn look as the aftermath of the city’s annual Christmas Market comes to light. Concluding on December 17, the market sprawled across the heart of the city, attracting thousands to Exeter Cathedral Green over the four weeks it was in operation. This year’s event, the largest since its inception in 2017, featured 117 festive chalets housing a variety of local traders and global street food vendors.
The Christmas Market, which kicked off on November 17, has become a cherished tradition for both locals and visitors alike. Offering a diverse array of gifts and culinary delights, the market transforms the historic Cathedral Green into a bustling winter wonderland. However, as the final day festivities concluded, the true toll on the surroundings began to emerge.
With the majority of stalls dismantled and packed away, the once vibrant Cathedral Green now reveals patches of damaged grass. The cleanup operation, initiated this week, aims to restore the historic site to its former glory. The task is not a small one, considering the scale of this year’s market, which expanded across the entire length of the green.
The 117 traders, comprising local artisans and global vendors, contributed to the market’s diverse appeal. The Global Street Food Village, a dedicated section within the market, showcased culinary delights from around the world. Additionally, two large bars added to the festive atmosphere, attracting patrons throughout the month-long celebration.
Exeter Cathedral, the organizing entity behind the market, estimates an annual visitor count of up to half a million people. The bustling crowds that once filled the Cathedral Green with joy and excitement have now dispersed, leaving behind an empty expanse that starkly contrasts with the lively scenes of the past month.
As the cleanup efforts progress, most chalets have been disassembled and neatly stacked in a designated area. This zone, marked by caution tape, serves as a temporary holding ground for the dismantled structures. The once-thriving market hub is now a field of emptiness, with damaged grass bearing witness to the bustling footfall it sustained during the festive period.
The challenges posed by hosting such a massive event in a historic location are evident in the wear and tear on Cathedral Green. The damages to the grassy area, where chalets stood proudly just days ago, raise questions about the sustainability and environmental impact of hosting large-scale markets in heritage sites.
Local authorities, along with Exeter Cathedral officials, are expected to conduct a thorough assessment of the damages to Cathedral Green. This evaluation will likely inform future planning and execution of events to ensure the preservation of the historic site.
Critics argue that while the Christmas Market brings economic benefits to the city and provides a platform for local businesses, the environmental consequences cannot be overlooked. Balancing the economic advantages with the need for preserving cultural heritage and green spaces remains a delicate challenge for event organizers.
Despite the visible aftermath, the Christmas Market undoubtedly played a pivotal role in fostering community spirit and supporting local businesses. As Exeter Cathedral Green undergoes its post-festive cleanup, discussions around sustainable event management and responsible tourism are likely to gain prominence in the local dialogue.
The challenge now lies in finding a balance that allows for the continuation of beloved traditions while ensuring the long-term preservation of Exeter’s historical gems. As the clean up operation progresses, Exeter Cathedral Green stands as a reminder of the delicate equilibrium between festive celebrations and the responsible stewardship of cultural and natural treasures.