A huge snow slide, a covered ice rink and a festive market will be the star attractions in Bolton town centre this Christmas.
This year's Winter Festival, from Saturday, December 1 to Sunday, January 8, has been organised by the council to draw people into town.
From December 1 to 11, shoppers can soak up the atmosphere at the Festive Artisan Market in Deansgate and Oxford Street.
With more than 40 stalls, it will offer a range of unique festive treats and gift ideas, and quality food, drink and local produce. The traders will be joined by a double decker bus bar on Deansgate.
From December 10 to January 8, 2017, two giant attractions will form the centrepiece of the town’s Winter Festival. Newport Street will see the return of the popular 55-metre artificial snow slide, sponsored by the University of Bolton. The slide was first introduced two years ago and was a hit with thrill seekers.
And Victoria Square will host the town’s first ever covered ice rink, sponsored by Market Place Shopping Centre, along with a traditional nativity scene.
On Oxford Street, a traditional log cabin Santa’s grotto, with a snow roof and a giant glittering, singing symphony tree will entertain visitors.
Children will have fun hopping aboard the Santa Express train for a ride around Bolton’s festive streets.
And a programme of performances from local musicians and free festive entertainment will also be laid on over the festive season.
Prices and times vary for the attractions. Tickets will go on sale on Monday, October 24 on www.visitbolton.com/winterfestival
People can also buy tickets in person from a box office on Victoria Square, once the attractions open.
The Winter Festival programme will follow the Christmas Lights switch-on on November 17. Details of the switch-on party will be revealed shortly.
Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris, said: “We’ve got all the ingredients this year to make it a marvellous, magical Christmas in Bolton.
“The lights switch-on is the start of a host of attractions in the town centre in the run up to Christmas.
“The Winter Festival has plenty on offer to attract lots of people into the town centre and I am sure the news that the slide and the ice rink will be back will be hugely welcome. We’ve made some improvements to the ice rink to ensure it will be protected in the event of bad weather, and visitors can continue to enjoy the festive fun."
Market Place Shopping Centre Manager, Nikki Wilson-Cook, added: “We’re really proud to be sponsoring the ice rink at this year’s Bolton Winter Festival.
“It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated attractions of the year and creates such a wonderful atmosphere in the heart of the town – adding to the increasingly great social, leisure and shopping offer available to customers.”
University of Bolton Vice Chancellor, Professor George E Holmes DL, said: “The Christmas holidays are a wonderful time for us to relax with our friends and families and celebrate the festive season. As members of the Bolton family we are delighted to support this event and what could be more fun than a snow slide? Enjoy!”
Visit www.visitbolton.com/winterfestival for more information.