All August bank holiday weekend the town has been home to more than 180 stalls of food, drink, crafts and gifts with free demonstrations by some of the nation and region’s most respected chefs, live music acts, children’s activities, street performers and comedy acts.
This year is the landmark 18th birthday for the north west’s biggest and best food festival. Top chefs Michael Caines and Simon Wood were among the culinary stars cooking up a storm for more than 220 guests at a special gala dinner at the Albert Halls in Bolton on Friday evening.
Scroll through the gallery above to see fantastic photos capturing the fun, by Henry Lisowski
Speaking after wowing the crowds with a demo at Bolton Market, Michael said: “It’s been 14 years I’ve been coming and I think what makes Bolton Food Festival quite so special, and why it’s so successful, is it’s a community event.
“Everybody is here. Half a million people apparently over the next four days. It’s incredible that so much is available for the people of Bolton just to enjoy.
Former MasterChef winner Simon, of WOOD Manchester, praised: “I go to loads of festivals but this is the best in the UK. It’s probably the biggest and the most eclectic I think. You can get all sorts here of almost everything.”
Phil Mason, chief operations officer of festival sponsors Bolton Wanderers F.C. and chief executive officer of the club’s official charity, Bolton Wanderers in the Community, said: “It’s brilliant and it’s grown and grown. Every year it brings more people together. It makes Bolton a destination point.
“It’s award winning. With all the celebrity chefs we have, to attract those people to our town is fabulous. It gives us an opportunity to showcase what our town is about and how we are proud of our people and bring our communities together.
“From the point of view of Bolton Wanderers being one of the sponsors we’re very proud because we want to play our part in the community and what better way to do that than to be part and parcel of this magnificent festival.”
Speaking about the Wanderers’ Fan Zone, where supporters can grab a bite of locally sourced food to eat, he said: “We’ve got our Fan Zone and we’ve got Sushma’snacks in there and we’ve got Nam Ploy and street food.
“When we created the Fan Zone we wanted to create something that was almost a taste of this bigger festival every year and to use local suppliers that we’re giving back to Bolton, to have our own little food and drink festival every time that we have a game.”
Richard Knight, director of planning and strategy at event headline sponsor Peel L&P, said: “It’s absolutely huge. This is our second year as main sponsor and we’re pleased to be involved.
“It’s great to see the town centre come alive. Bolton is a great town and to see it buzzing like this is fantastic.”
For more information on the festival and full programme of events visit boltonfoodanddrinkfestival.com