It’s the final countdown to Bolton’s 11th Food and Drink Festival, the largest foodie event in the north west.
Set-up is now underway for the festival, which takes place from August 26 to 29.
The event is organised by Bolton Council, in association with Aldi, which has recently opened a state of the art distribution centre in the town.
Construction of the marquee in Victoria Square, which will host festival headliners, Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain and TV favourites John Torode and James Martin, is almost finished.
This year, wine experts Oz Clarke and Kate Goodman will be hosting two special wine tasting sessions based at the brand new 'Chefs Quarter' at The Vaults, in the Market Place.
On Saturday evening Oz and Kate will join John Torode at an extra-special Twilight event in the main Festival Marquee. Aldi, will be supplying some of their award winning wines for each session.
Michelin-starred Michael Caines will officially launch the festival on Friday in the newly unveiled Vaults in the Market Place Shopping Centre. The public are invited to his free demo at 2pm.
Set up of the speciality markets, which this year has an ‘around the world’ theme with a huge variety of global cuisine, has also started. A total of 180 food, drink and craft traders will take over the town centre, with a feast of goodies on offer, to cater for every taste, including Almost Famous.
The markets, opening from 10am, will be located in and around Victoria Square:
Two live music stages – Kro Bar on Deansgate and the Beer Garden on Victoria Square - will also showcase some of Bolton’s finest bands and musicians.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “This is the 11th year of the festival and it just gets better and better. Each year we manage to surpass expectations and this year is no different. There is so much to see and do that you will need four days to see everything on offer.
“There is something for everyone – great food from all over the world, brilliant celebrity chefs showing off their culinary prowess, lots to do for families, wine tasting with well-known personalities and lots of street entertainment. It will be a truly fantastic event.”
Aldi Regional Managing Director, Ruth Doyle, added: “This year’s festival is set to be even better than last year’s and we’re pleased to be supporting a number of high profile activities at the festival, such as the Gala Dinner and the celebrity wine tasting master classes.
“We’ll have store staff and Area Managers in attendance this year, who are looking forward to meeting visitors and will be looking out for our loyal customers from our Bolton stores.”
As well as the celebrity chef demonstrations in the main marquee on Victoria Square, the public are invited to free cookery shows in Bolton Market’s Lifestyle Hall on Ashburner Street and in The Vaults, Market Place Shopping Centre.
Headliners include: Coronation Street star Jennie McAlpine; Aiden Byrne, of Manchester House, Masterchef winner Simon Wood and celebrity chef Andrew Nutter.
Centre Manager, Nikki Wilson-Cook, said: “This year’s Food and Drink Festival is tantalisingly close and the finishing touches are being added to our schedule of events in time for Friday’s launch in The Vaults.
“We are really proud to be sponsoring this year’s festival, which is by far the biggest event in Bolton’s annual calendar.”
On Sunday, following the huge success of the Afternoon Tea last year, there will be a Slattery family Afternoon Tea picnic served in a unique picnic box with a live demo from baking queen Nadiya Hussain.
Earlier in the day, Nadiya will host a Sunday Brunch which will feature a cookery demonstration, followed by her reading extracts from her new book ‘Bake Me A Story’.
Family friendly fun
For the youngsters this year, Mad Science North West will be offering hands-on science fun on Le Mans Crescent. A £2.50 passport can be bought on the day from The Octagon Theatre.
In addition, premier sponsor, The University of Bolton, will also bring racing cars and their own messy science experiments to Le Mans Crescent.
Festival partners the Octagon Theatre are bringing the beach to Bolton and converting their auditorium into a seaside resort, with free activities for children. A cast from the theatre will also be putting on free pop-up performances around the festival site.
Bolton Library and Museum Services have also got a weekend of craft and arts fun for younger children too.
Free parking is available in Octagon, Deane Road, and Topp Way NCP multi-storeys on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Limited tickets are available for the celebrity chefs. Tickets can be purchased online or on the day from The Octagon Theatre.
For more information, visit www.boltonfoodanddrinkfestival.com, follow Bolton Food and Drink Festival page on Facebook or @boltonfoodfest on Twitter.
Sponsors are: Aldi; University of Bolton; Market Place Shopping Centre; Stateside Foods, Willmott Dixon and Old Pulteney. Partners are: Arts Council; Bolton College; Bolton Market; KRO; Octagon Theatre; Slattery, and Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club.