Bolton’s Christmas attractions will open on December 10.

The town centre will be transformed into a sparkling seasonal attraction for Christmas, with a giant artificial snow slide on Newport Street, a covered ice rink and a nativity scene in Victoria Square, plus a Santa’s grotto on Oxford Street.

The council has arranged the special Christmas programme, from December 10 to January 8, 2017, to attract thousands of visitors and boost town centre trade over the festive period.

The University of Bolton has sponsored the 55-metre snow slide and the town’s first ever covered ice rink is sponsored by Market Place Shopping Centre.

The Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Lynda Byrne will officially launch the festival at 11.30am at the ice rink, followed by performances from professionals on the rink and the snow slide.

At 11.45am a camel parade, with three kings bearing gifts, will then lead guests to the Market Place for a performance by the Rock Choir in the Vaults.

The attractions will open to the public from 1pm onwards. Opening times and prices vary. Tickets available online www.visitbolton.com/winterfestival and from the on-site box office on Victoria Square.

A Christmas artisan market with a vintage bus bar and 40 traders selling a range of produce is also on Deansgate until December 11.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris said: “There is something for everyone to enjoy in our Christmas programme.

“The return of the snow slide is sure to be a hit, this year we have a covered ice rink, and the popular Santa’s Express will be back.

“People can do their shopping, have a great day out and park for free this Christmas in Bolton.”

University of Bolton Vice Chancellor, Professor George E Holmes DL, added: “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!”

Market Place Centre Manager, Nikki Wilson-Cook, said: “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. So we’re really excited that it’s finally here!”

The free Santa’s Express train will also be running on Sundays, from 10am to 4pm, until December 18.

Two reindeer will also be on Victoria Square, located near Santa’s Grotto, on Sunday, December 11 and Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18, from 11am to 3pm.

Free parking is in operation weekdays after 3pm at Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon multi-storey car parks until Friday, January 6, 2017. Free parking is also available all day Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays.

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