Montpellier Day labelled 'real success' as thousands visit shopping district for annual event
Reproduced from The Gloucestershire Echo. Words: Jack Maidment
Four years in and Montpellier Day just keeps getting bigger and better.
Thousands of people made their way to Cheltenham's independent shopping district for the highly-anticipated annual showcase event.
And they were not disappointed.
There was music provided by Cheltenham Silver Band, stalls selling everything from buttons to cakes to paintings, and enough pristine classic cars to keep all types of petrol heads happy
There was also belly dancing, fairground games and plenty of snacking opportunities.
The event is the work of the Montpellier Traders' Association and perhaps the band was acknowledging the amount of effort put in to make the day happen when they played the Mission Impossible theme tune at lunchtime.
Margaret Cavanagh, the chair of the association, said: "This matters because it shows Cheltenham has a soul, that Montpellier is not only about 'we want your money' but also about having fun.
"It shows Cheltenham is a fabulous place to be and the town's communities have come together.
"It is also a celebration of the community that we have in Montpellier.
It also shows what the area brings to the table.
"It is a way of showcasing the variety that Montpellier has to offer," Margaret said.
"Every customer here is welcome."
Hope Howells, chairman of the Suffolk Traders' Association in Cheltenham who also runs the D'Arcy Gallery, plays a key part in organising the event.
"We like to put something on for the community," she said.
"People can just enjoy Montpellier. It is a good way for us to talk about the area, to bring people back to visit - before and after."
But it does take an almost herculean effort to pull off and there will be no time to celebrate the success of the fourth edition of the event.
"We have already started on next year," Hope said.
"It's one of those things we keep working on."
Gavin Thomson who runs Gusto is also an organiser.
He said: "It is about reminding people about what is here.
"People may come and enjoy the event but they may come back afterwards and support our shops."
Silvia O'Neill and her husband Paul run the Pink Vintage shop in Montpellier.
Paul described the event as a "real success" with more people visiting than any of the previous years.
"The organisation is amazing," he said.
"It's fantastic – I would like to do this every other week!"
Silvia said: "It makes people realise what we have here in Cheltenham."
"It puts you back on the map," Paul added.
The traders' association has expressed its thanks to Cheltenham Borough Council for donating plants to be sold at the event.