A huge bill faces City of Lincoln Council after heavy snowfalls forced it to cancel the city’s Christmas market, one of the country’s largest.
It has offered 262 people who booked stalls either a full refund or a free stall at next year’s event.
Stalls were priced at between £450 and £5,465 each, and the council is not insured against the cost.
A spokesman said: “The final cost will depend on how many people want a refund now, how many choose a free stall next year and what savings we have made through cancellation, for example on policing.
“It is not worth getting insurance, just try insuring against snow right before Christmas!”
This was the first cancellation in 28-year history of the German-style event, which normally attracts around 160,000 people, 10,000 cars and 600 coaches.
The market is normally a major money-spinner for the local economy, generating business worth some £10m, most of which will now be lost.
Free car parking will be offered in the city’s historic core this weekend to try to attract customers to its shops.
Council leader Darren Grice (Con) said: “Clearly, it was a very hard decision to cancel the Lincoln Christmas Market, but one that was necessary given the severe weather conditions.