What a year it has been! 30 Dec 2019
At this time of year, it is nice to take a moment to look back and see what incredible events we have had throughout 2019 in our beautiful city. We started the summer with the Alban Weekend including the Pilgrimage, the Roman festival and the Street Festival, closely followed by the phenomenally popular finals of UK’s Strongest Man, which was screened on Channel 5 last month.
St Albans Film Festival was back with a spectacular outdoor cinema showing films such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Withnail and I and Romeo and Juliet and we also saw the birth of the new pop-up pub, The New Fighting Lion, a joint venture between Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and The White Lion in Sopwell Lane.
This year also saw the return of Meraki for the third year running, with artists such as The Shires, Judge Jules and Paul Young. Dylans were lucky enough to be invited to be at Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park in September with Phil Thompson and a number of other pubs and restaurants from around the country. The event was a huge success, selling out all weekend. The event will be retuning in 2020.
St Albans Council was one of the first councils in England to declare a climate emergency and this was very much reflected with the excellent annual St Albans Food and Drink Festival where it became plastic free for the first year.
The event followed another excellent CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival at The Alban Arena. Gin and Jazz Festival was also back for its third successful year attracting more than 5,000 people to George Street for an evening of late-night shopping, eating, drinking and of course live jazz.
Christmas is now finally here, and the St Albans Businesses in the Business Improvement District and the Council have joined forces to showcase lots of community events across the season – a festive feast from Carols till Closing and St Albans Film Festival’s Christmas in the Museum to Tinseltown Pop-ups and lots more besides.
St Albans pubs have had a challenging year with only more challenges ahead and the most difficult trading conditions for decades, not to mention high business rates.
This Christmas, Save St Albans Pubs launched a very local pub charity where local pubs have teamed up with local charities to raise money over the Christmas period and also launched the first Save St Albans Christmas Pub Crawl Map to encourage people into our excellent pubs over the festive period.
Our pubs are vital to our community and the backbone of our local history providing meeting places for visitors and residents alike. We need to do all that we can to protect them so pop into your local this Christmas and don’t forget to do the same in January.
St Albans has an incredible community with many volunteers making these events happen, and we should all raise a glass and say “cheers” to living in one of the most wonderful places in the country. Merry Christmas.
For information about the St Albans Visitor Partnership, email firstname.lastname@example.org and for updates about events in St Albans, go to enjoystalbans.com
By Sean Hughes, owner, Dylans, The Boot and The Plough.
This article first appeared in the Herts Advertiser on behalf of the St Albans Visitor Partnership on 26 December 2019.