A year of spectacular celebrations as a city

PUBLISHED: 21 November 2023

As we mark a year since Colchester became a modern city, 23 November 2022, Colchester City Council proudly looks back on an eventful and joyous Year of Celebration in 2023.

Colchester, known for its rich history, has taken significant strides to embrace the future while cherishing its heritage. With a programme of fantastic events, initiatives, and vibrant cultural experiences, this year has cemented Colchester's status as a thriving, contemporary city.

Throughout 2023, Colchester City Council, in collaboration with the local community, organisations and businesses, supported a wide array of events and initiatives. These activities included cultural festivals, innovative art exhibitions, community engagement projects, and investment projects. Some of the highlights from this unforgettable year include:

Heritage Events: Celebrating Colchester's rich history, the community came together for heritage events, including commemorating the Colchester Siege reenactment, fun at Rowhedge Regatta, Roman Festival, Olly Murs concert, historical tours, City Celebration online exhibition, Gladiators exhibition at Colchester Castle and the much-loved Heritage Open Days.

Cultural Events: A captivating showcase of cultural events, including the Colchester Fringe, Invasion Colchester, 500 years of Layer Marney, Big Women at Firstsite, Family Fun Festival, Anti Loo Roll Festival, Roman River Festival, Ford RideLondon Classique, Colchester Globes art installation, Eco Festival, Festival Fun at Leisure World and the Coronation gun salute, community market and picnic.

Not forgetting the upcoming Sleeping Beauty at the Mercury, Enlightened in Castle Park and full programme of Christmas activity in Colchester. Check out the Festive in Colchester Guide here.

Celebrating Business: The Council’s Facebook page /EnjoyColchester has become a platform to showcase local new businesses, fostering economic growth and innovation within the city. Supporting the Business Improvement District (BIDs) INColchester’s events, including the first ever Soapbox Rally. We’ve also celebrated the opening of the Digital Hub at Wilson Marriage Centre, the first project completed with funding from the Government Town Deal Fund.

Investment in the City: The city council has continued several ambitious projects, revitalising areas of the city, enhancing infrastructure and supporting the local economy, made possible by the combined £40m Towns’ Fund and the Levelling Up Fund, which are now beginning to deliver on their project programmes.  These include, the Creative Digital Hub in Queen Street, the Adult Community Learning (ACL) Digital Hub at Wilson Marriage which will enable local people to improve their digital skills, Trinity Gardens, St Botolph’s Circus regeneration, city centre shopfront improvement programme in partnership with the Our Colchester BID, and the City Centre Masterplan. These initiatives will transform areas of Colchester and provide more sustainable and eco-friendly options for travelling.

Cllr Michelle Burrows, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Heritage, commented on the pride, optimism and ambition the Year of Celebration has helped create. She said: “The Year of Celebration has been a resounding success, and it reflects Colchester's commitment to embracing its history while looking forward to a bright future.

“We have embraced our identity as a modern city, and we are excited about the prospects that lie ahead. This journey wouldn't have been possible without the support and enthusiasm of our residents, local businesses, and our incredible community.

“Despite knowing that difficult years lie ahead, with £8.2 million pressure on the Council’s budget, we move forward and remain dedicated to nurturing our cultural heritage, fostering creativity, and ensuring Colchester continues to thrive."

The Year of Celebration continues until the end of December 2024. Join the extra-special programme of celebratory events marking this historic year for Colchester: visitcolchester.com/yearofcelebration  and keep checking back as more will be added throughout December.

If you are an event organiser, business, organisation or charity, you can still get involved in the Year of Celebration for events in December 2023, find out more on the City Council's webpage: colchester.gov.uk/city-status

Page last reviewed: 21 November 2023


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