PLANS for this year's pre-Christmas shopping period in York have been announced with an overhaul of the popular St Nicholas Fair.

The city centre fair will extend over three weeks from the end of November until December 21 - a big extension on the four-day weekend the fair has previous lasted.

The announcement came from Cllr Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure and tourism, yesterday.

Cllr Crisp said: "St Nicholas Fair is firmly established as the most popular shopping event in York and last year we saw record footfall in the city centre in this period. With high quality Christmas markets on offer for the month before Christmas, we have decided to extend the St Nicholas Fair brand to that period so shoppers can enjoy an even better experience by having almost four weeks to visit, rather than just one long weekend.

"The Fair is a major contributor to the city’s economy, to the city’s diverse retail and events offer."

A council spokesman said the plans aimed to "ring the changes" in the Christmas events in the city, and is appealing for traders interested in taking a stall at the St Nicholas Fair to be in touch by the deadline this month.

The overhaul will also include increased marketing and promotion and a special grand opening weekend across the city centre, the council's plans say.

And the market will include themed weeks of speciality stalls featuring food, sparkles and toys.

As usual, wooden huts will line Parliament Street with a traditional carousel in St Sampson’s Square.

The main markets will, be complemented by others taking place across the city including the daily Newgate Market, the Made in Yorkshire art and craft market at the Guildhall, the Medieval Market at Barley Hall and an Arts and Crafts market at St William’s College.

St Nicholas Fair will be open daily from 9am until 6pm daily. Any additional traders wanting to take part are invited to make expressions of interest by 31 May to City of York Council’s Market Office on 01904 551355 or email