Winterfest Mullingar, is an award-winning seven week festival that has created a magical Winter destination for families in the heart of the Irish Midlands and has given a significant boost to local retailers in Mullingar during the busy Christmas period. The main attractions of Winterfest include Mullingar On Ice, the only ice skating rink in the Midlands and an annual Christmas Market which runs over the first two weekends of December and is hosted above the pond in the picturesque Mullingar Town Park.
Winterfest was launched last year by Mullingar Chamber as an innovative concept to attract visitors into the centre of Mullingar during the busy Christmas retail period to help boost sales for local businesses who have struggled to combat online sales and competition from large nearby cities such as Dublin & Galway. Last year, Winterfest attracted over 100,000 people to Mullingar Town Park with 80% of visitors from outside of Mullingar itself, and on average, visitors spent over €50 in local businesses on their visit. Mullingar Chamber are hoping for an even more successful event with an enhanced visitor experience at Mullingar on Ice and an extended and larger Christmas Market taking place this year.
Mullingar Chamber Volunteer and local pharmacist John Keane said, “Businesses in Mullingar have struggled in recent years due to the growth in online shopping and our proximity to big cities such as Dublin and Galway which attract shoppers away from rural towns with large multinational retailers and family attractions such as ice skating. Winterfest was launched to provide an alternative, easily accessible major family attraction for families in the Midlands and to provide a significant increase in footfall that local businesses could capitalize on. We were delighted that Winterfest and in particular, Mullingar on Ice made a massive positive impact on the tourism and retail sectors in Mullingar last year and we hope to build on the success of last year’s event to become known as the Winter Wonderland of the Midlands. We hope that Winterfest will give people an even better reason to shop local and support local businesses this Christmas. We have also created over 30 seasonal jobs and were delighted to retain many of the same team members from last year.”
Mullingar Chamber have worked incredibly hard with a wide range of volunteers, community groups, partners and sponsors to enhance the experience for visitors to Mullingar this year. Most notably, there is a larger ice skating rink with an indoor Cafe and live photography provided by Alpha Pix to capture the best moments on the ice and transform them into beautiful mementos and souvenirs for visitors. There is also a larger and extended Christmas Market which runs over the first two weekends in December and will host a wide range of arts, crafts and food vendors as well as choirs, performers, Santa’s Grotto, carousels and other amusements for children.
John added, “We’re delighted to provide a fantastic day out for families and friends but visitors are advised to book ice skating tickets in advance online on www.iceskating.ie to get the best value and to avoid disappointment during busy periods. We look forward to building on the success of last year’s events and helping families create some magical memories once again.”
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