A Christmas gift wonderland promised at Guildhall Craft Fair

Derry City and Strabane District Council Mayor, Councillor John Boyle pictured with glass artist Natasha in her Eglinton studio ahead of this years Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair which is taking place from the 23rd until the 25th of November 2018. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.
Derry City and Strabane District Council Mayor, Councillor John Boyle pictured with glass artist Natasha in her Eglinton studio ahead of this years Guildhall Craft and Artisan Food Fair which is taking place from the 23rd until the 25th of November 2018. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.

The countdown to one of the city’s most unique shopping events has begun today with the launch of the Guildhall Craft Fair and its unique pre-Christmas offering.

Now in its 24th year, the annual event showcases a wide range of bespoke craft items created by craft designers-makers and artists from the north west and across Ireland.

The fair takes place from Friday, November 23 until Sunday, November 25 in Derry’s Guildhall, with a food hall and live music also planned this year.

This year’s fair is slightly later than previous years, opening its doors to the public the day after the city’s Big Christmas Lights Switch On, which is due to take place on the evening of Thursday, November 22 and the aim is that a new generation of shoppers will be introduced to the magical event.

Over 40 high-end craft producers and exhibitors have signed up to exhibit.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Colr. John Boyle said the Guildhall Craft Fair provides everyone with the opportunity to purchase unique Christmas gifts at a range of prices that will suit every purse.

“This event is testament to the talent and skill that is alive today within the craft sector and is the perfect chance for the Council to showcase local and visiting talent and to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity.

“All of these craftspeople are getting ready to welcome in excess of 4000 people to the city over that weekend and with the preparations that are going on throughout the craft sector I’m confident it will be a great success.”

One of the local producers taking part in the Craft Fair this year is Eglinton based glass crafter, Natasha Duddy. A regular contributor to the fair, Natasha believes it provides a great forum for her to showcase her products to her customers and meet with new buyers.

“I have been taking part in the Craft Fair since as far back as 1999 and I really enjoy it. The Guildhall is a spectacular building and there is always a lovely festive friendly atmosphere at the event.

“The Craft Fair is hugely popular and I am in no doubt that it is the best event of its kind in Ireland. It’s the perfect location for me to showcase my work, meet my customers, make new contacts and meet with other craft producers to share ideas and learn from one another. It’s a great event, a really unique fair that I feel honoured to be part of it.”

The event will feature 45 craft stands on the upper floor of the Guildhall, over half of which are from the North West. The event will also feature an artisan food hall in the ground floor of the Guildhall with seven stands.

Opening times are Friday (12pm to 7pm), Saturday (10am to 6pm) and Sunday (11am to 6pm).

Admission fee is £1 per adult and free for children under the age of 14.

Helena Hasson, Event Co-Ordinator with Derry City and Strabane District Council says: “By linking the event to the ‘Christmas Lights Switch On’ we are hoping to attract a new generation of craft fair fans, the event is visited by people from across the region who include it on their Christmas shopping list every year. We’ve also extended the number of craft stands to 45, the largest number ever featured in a bid to accommodate an increased footfall. As always there are returning exhibitors as well as new faces, all of which bring something unique and of value that contributes to this being such a special event.”

She continued: “A visit to the fair is the ultimate festive day out, browse around the countless craft stands and artisan food hall in search of that special present, enjoy the seasonal music performed by local choirs and musicians and then take to one of the many coffee shops and restaurants surrounding the Guildhall to soak in the atmosphere and Christmas lights.”

For more information about the Craft Fair visit – www.derrystrabane.com/craftfair
The Craft Fair marks the start of the city’s Festive celebrations and full details are available at www.derrystrabane.com/christmas