Kids were hoping to meet the real Santa Claus during the event which took place at Northallerton Town Hall. However, after realising the man was clearly not Father Christmas, kids and parents were left distraught at the “shambles” that took place.
Some children were unable to meet him due to the rush and lack of organisation at the event.
After being organised by the council, the event was met by a number of complaints – with some saying that the man had his beard under his chin at points
To understand what went wrong, a review and an online survey will be set up to “establish where improvements can be made for the future”.
A parent who took her child to the event described the event as a “complete shambles”.
They told YorkshireLive: “The main issues were that Santa arrived at 6.05pm with the rest of the traffic with no warning before.
“Most people hadn’t even arrived at this point.
“My little boy was on a ride at this point and missed him.”
“The High Street was kept open during the event, despite the ongoing Town Square regeneration works which meant there was less space for families to manoeuvre.”
The woman added: “There were people trying to dodge traffic with their little ones in the dark.
“Santa then appeared at the town hall doors and a huge group of people were pushing and shoving to get to the front – there was absolutely no organisation at all.
A spokeswoman at the council said: “Northallerton Town Council would like to thank everyone who attended the Festive Friday event.
“There was a lively atmosphere on the High Street, due to the very high attendance, with more than 500 children receiving presents from Santa and High Street businesses benefiting from additional custom during late opening.
“Despite the disruption caused by the ongoing Town Square regeneration being undertaken by Hambleton District Council and North Yorkshire County Council and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the Town Council and other stakeholders decided to press ahead with the event with a view to it contributing positively to the community spirit and economy of the town.
“We had detailed discussions with representatives of Hambletons Multi-Agency Safety Advisory Group beforehand and were advised that closure of the High Street was not necessary.
“However, space restrictions around the Town Hall, caused by the Town Square reconstruction works, meant it was more crowded on the night than had been anticipated.
“All those who wanted to meet Santa were able to do so.
“Nevertheless, we acknowledge that some negative comments have been posted on social media and, as always after events, we will undertake a thorough review to establish where improvements can be made for the future including an online survey of the public about the evening.”
Additional reporting by Charles Gray.