Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market cancelled due to coronavirus
Birmingham's annual German Frankfurt Market will not take place this year it has been announced.
The market, which attracts around five million visitors a year, usually marks the start of the festive season in the city when it opens in November. This will be the first time since 2001 it has not taken place.
Last month it was announced that the popular event was still set to take place this festive season but with organisers warning this would be subject to change due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kurt Stroscher, Frankfurt City Council’s director of festivals and events, said: “The decision to cancel the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market has been made with a very heavy heart.
"We have carefully explored all possible options, because of its importance to the public, traders and local economy but the health and safety of visitors had to be our top priority.
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“Christmas markets like this are a place for socialising and ‘cosy closeness’, which couldn’t be offered with social distancing and hygiene rules introduced to help protect people from Covid-19.
"Consideration was also given to the possibility visitors might not adhere to the social distancing rules and behave in ways that they have been used to in the past.
The right decision
“Under no circumstances did we want the Christmas market to become a place that promotes the pandemic.
“Therefore, the right decision could only be to not bring the market to Birmingham this year.
"We will now concentrate all our efforts on 2021 in order to return with an impressive Christmas market in its recognisable form.”
Each year the festival, also known as the German Market, has more than 80 stalls selling a range of gifts from food to alcoholic beverages, craft items and other novelties.
It is the biggest outdoor Christmas market in the UK and the largest German market outside Germany and Austria.
Councillor Ian Ward, leader of the council, said: “The Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of Birmingham’s great festive events, attracting millions of people to the city centre – so it is disappointing we won’t be hosting the market this year, but I welcome the organiser’s decision to put the public’s health and safety first.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in planning and staging the market who works so hard, all year round, to make this such a well-run and special festive event.
“In the meantime Birmingham is still open. Christmas will look a little different this year so we can all enjoy it safely – and we look forward to seeing the market return for its 21st year in 2021.”