It was the talk of the Midlands over the Christmas period and Winterfest Mullingar has proved to be a huge win for Mullingar, boosting business for local retailers and creating invaluable positive publicity for the town.
Although putting an ice skating rink in the Town Park seemed like an impossible feat at the outset, Mullingar Chamber managed to pull off an incredible coup to bring ice skating to Mullingar and the town now looks set to become the Winter Wonderland of the Midlands.
For many families in the Midlands, Mullingar on Ice was the hottest ticket around this Winter with sold-out sessions right throughout the holiday period and an extra week being added due to phenomenal demand. President of Mullingar Chamber Tom Hyland said, “Our vision was to create a festival in the heart of Mullingar that would attract people into the town during the busy Christmas period to give a boost to local businesses and we certainly achieved that. Our customer surveys show that over 70% of visitors to Mullingar on Ice and the annual Christmas Market were from outside of Mullingar and for almost 80% of visitors it was the sole reason for coming to Mullingar.”
Local retailers certainly saw a boost from this substantial increase in footfall with customer surveys showing that 90% of visitors spent money in local businesses before or after their visit to Mullingar on Ice.
Seamus Rawle of McDonalds said “We seen a significant boost in sales particularly after ice-skating sessions and the tremendous pull of ice skating was very evident when buses of students from as far as Edenderry pulled up outside!”
Deirdre Bracken from Annebrook House Hotel painted a similar picture, “Winterfest certainly created a buzz around the town and put Mullingar on the map over the festive period. As a local business, we really welcomed the increased revenue generated in food & accommodation sales. We would fully support Winterfest Mullingar back in 2019!”
Winterfest Mullingar also won significant national media coverage from RTE, Newstalk, Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RSVPLive, and TheJournal which showed the potential Mullingar has a popular visitor destination. Tom Hyland President of Mullingar Chamber said, “You cannot buy the kind of publicity we received from national media and that will help to position Mullingar as a wonderful family destination in the Midlands. I would like to extend our thanks to the local community and Westmeath County Council for making it all possible. With a major attraction like Winterfest, we have managed to buck the trend for the towns in the Midlands who are suffering from increased online shopping and visits to the big cities. Instead of going to Blanchardstown, Dundrum or Liffey Valley, they all came to our town.”
As we watched the work to deconstruct the ice rink and return Mullingar Town Park to normality begin, John Keane from Mullingar Chamber echoed those sentiments, “Winterfest Mullingar has been an unprecedented success for the town. It was a phenomenal undertaking for our small team and we have learned a lot over the course of the seven weeks. Without the support of people like Martin Murray in Westmeath County Council & the support of local residents, it wouldn’t be possible and we look forward to working with them to improve the festival in 2019. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the broader community, the organisations that helped us throughout the festival such as Westmeath Examiner, An Gardai Siochana, our amazing staff, vendors and sponsors who made it all possible.”
An incredible good news story for Mullingar which will only lead to bigger and better things in the future for the town with everyone working together to make Mullingar the home of Winter festivities in the Midlands.