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Nottingham City Council, in collaboration with Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), the organisation behind It’s in Nottingham; is proud to present the first Ay-UpMarket.

The three-day event will run in Old Market Square from Friday 25 March to Sunday 27 March and as part of a partnership with the Creative Quarter, the market will also be held in Sneinton Market Avenues on Saturday 26 March.

The Ay-UpMarket gives Nottingham’s independent retail businesses, both bricks and mortar and online the opportunity to trade at a unique event to highlight the city’s fantastic independent retail sector.

This event has been made possible with funding available nationally from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Welcome Back Fund has provided councils across England a share of £56 million to support the safe return to high streets and help build back better from the pandemic.

Alongside the market stalls, the event will also include a full programme of live music and other street entertainers to attract visitors of all ages.

While the event is a celebration of today’s Nottingham’s independent traders, it also recognises the heritage of Nottingham’s markets. Historically, the Old Market Square forms a meeting place for the people of Nottingham, where the first “official” mention of a Nottingham market is during the reign of Henry II (1154–1189). It seems pretty much anything and everything could be traded at the Great Market Place.

Down at Sneinton Market Avenues, the whole area was changed by the arrival of the Wholesale Market moved from the Old Market Square in 1900 to accommodate the new electric trams. All the traders moved – wholesale fruit, flower and vegetable dealers and fish, game and poultry merchants.

The entertainment programme also nods to our history of market trading, where on Friday you can make your way through a honey-perfumed bee colony, grab some gardening advice from The Strolling Gardeners, or meet the Vegetable Nannies on a day trip with their family of little ones. So, if you see an old pram brimming with some beautiful bouncing baby fruits and vegetables, come over and say hello!

On Saturday the theme turns fishy, with a chance to explore a whale’s belly, meet a mermaid as well as encountering a giant lobster, octopuses, dancing prawns, and deep-sea divers.

On Sunday the city’s makers and creators are celebrated through poetry, live music and giant colouring wall.

Cllr Sam Webster Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources said – “We are very pleased to be able to use this grant funding to encourage more people back into our city centre in this way. It’s an opportunity to support and showcase our local independent businesses which particularly felt the strains of the last two years. I’ll certainly be visiting and I look forward to meeting some of the traders at the event.”

Commenting on the event, Alex Flint, CEO of Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) said: “We are delighted to be part of the first ever Ay-UpMarket – this is a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on all the amazing independent businesses that we have here in the city, as well as boosting footfall by encouraging both locals and visitors alike to come into Nottingham city centre.”

The team from Sneinton Market Avenues said “‘As a community, we are really looking forward to hosting lots of independent businesses along The Avenues, including exciting Nottingham based emerging brands! The day is set to be a fun one!”

Friday 25 March to Sunday 27 March: Old Market Square
Saturday 26 March: Sneinton Market Avenues
Opening times: Friday – Saturday:  10am – 7pm
Sunday: 10am – 5pm

Information for editors
Welcome Back Fund – The Ay-UpMarket has received some funding from The Welcome Back Fund which is providing councils across England a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the safe return to high streets and help build back better from the pandemic. This funding builds on the £50 million Reopening High Street Safely Fund (RHSSF) allocated to councils in 2020 and forms part of the wider support government is providing to communities and businesses.