HUNDREDS of residents have voiced support for moving Otley Victorian Fayre back to Friday nights.

This year's fayre, one of the town's biggest annual events, was held on Sunday, December 3 and - as always - brought in thousands of visitors.

An online poll started the next day, however, asked people for their thoughts on moving the event back to its old Friday evening slot to recapture a 'more Christmassy' atmosphere.

Out of a number of options, 695 people voted for the move to Fridays compared to 102 who supported the current arrangements.

Leah Jade Mckeown posed the question, and presented the poll, on the Otley - Our Town Facebook page.

She asked: "Just out of interest, who would prefer the Victorian Fayre to go back to a Friday evening rather than Sunday afternoon?

"Personally it doesn’t feel like the Victorian Fayre anymore, there are too many rides and flashing toy stalls - I much preferred it when all the children still had there costumes on from Victorian day at school, and sang carols under the Buttercross."

Becky Luxmore was one of dozens who commented to back the idea.

She said: "I still love the Victorian Fayre but did prefer it on a Friday.

"It was an all day event with children carol signing in different locations throughout Otley during the day, and then the fayre in the evening."

Karen Lloyd Chappelow agreed: "Friday had more spirit".

Many were keen, however, not to make the Friday proposal seem like a criticism of the volunteer-run Victorian Fayre Committee, which is led by Otley Town Partnership Chair Steph Lee.

Sharon Wilkinson, addressing Mrs Lee in her post, said: "I love the fayre and am very grateful for all you do but personally I enjoyed it more on a Friday night for the Christmassy atmosphere, as did many others."

Mrs Lee told the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer: "I completely understand the argument about 'lack of atmosphere'.

"The original event ran on a Friday for many years but as it become more popular the logistics of getting the day traders out, and the evening traders in, was becoming increasingly difficult and unsafe.

"I understand and agree that Sunday does not have the atmosphere that an event in complete darkness brings, and for that reason we ran the first Sunday event from 2pm to 8pm to have four hours of darkness.

"(But) the Sunday audience is now families and on that first Sunday the event died at 6pm as they left to get their children ready for school the next day - hence the fayre now being from noon to 6pm."

Among those supporting the existing arrangements was Otley businesswoman Rachelle Atkin, Managing Director of the Yorkshire Marketing Company.

She said: "I could never attend on a Friday as I work and it was always a pain driving home due to the road closures.

"I now go with my family every year and have also been on the committee and a steward.

"Since the move to a Sunday the visitor numbers have significantly increased with more families from Otley and around the area a win-win for residents, visitors and businesses."