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York Minster’s first Christmas Tree Festival will open next Thursday (18 November) in the cathedral’s grounds, featuring nearly 40 trees decorated by local business, schools and charities.
The festival will take place in a festive marquee by the South Piazza, with the medieval Minster as its backdrop, and will be open daily (excluding Christmas Day) until 6 January 2022.
Visitors will be able to see the trees decorated to individual themes, vote for their favourite tree in a ‘best dressed tree’ competition and take part in activities, including adding their own Christmas message to a tag to hang on a prayer tree, and family craft sessions on Saturday 20 November.
The festival is linked to the new Winter Village at York Minster which will take place by the South Piazza and feature wooden chalets offering seasonal food, drinks and gifts.
Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund which has organised the festival, said: “We’re excited to be opening our new Christmas Tree Festival which we hope will help spread some seasonal cheer while supporting one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals.
“Nearly 40 trees are being decorated to individual themes, from handcrafted ornaments by our stonemasons and the team at York Glaziers Trust, to music inspired creations and everything in between, so we can’t wait to see the ideas our participants have come up with.
“Entry to the festival in free, but we are encouraging donations to cover the running costs for the event, with any remaining proceeds being invested to help support the conservation of the cathedral.”
The trees for the festival have been provided with support from local company York Christmas Trees, who supplied the Christmas tree for 10 Downing Street in 2020.
The festival will include an activity tent where visitors will be able to write a Christmas message and add it to a prayer tree. Other activities include family-friendly craft sessions on Saturday 20 November, when participants can create their own Christmas tree decoration to take home.
Throughout the festival’s run, visitors will be able to vote for their favourite tree with the winning charity or school receiving a £200 prize and the winning business £200 to donate to a charity of their choice.
Opposite the festival will be The Winter Village at York Minster, which is being run in partnership with CMJ Events, and brings the best of both location and local produce to this brand new event.
Situated at the foot of the majestic South Door of York Minster, The Winter Village comprises several decorative wooden cabins offering food, drinks, gifts and the perfect place to sit and admire the view.
Both The Winter Village and the Christmas Tree Festival will run daily from 18 November to 6 January (except Christmas Day) from 10am to early evening and admission is free, although donations are encouraged to the tree festival.
Tickets do need to be purchased and booked in advance for the family-friendly Christmas Tree Decorations craft sessions on Saturday 20 November, with various sessions running between 10am and 3pm. Tickets cost £2.50 per participant and are available at HERE or by calling 01904 557200.
The festival forms part of a busy programme of services and events at the cathedral to mark Advent and Christmas. For full details visit www.yorkminster.org/whats-on.
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