BOLTON Food and Drink Festival is fast becoming one of the best in the UK, according to celebrity chef Michael Caines who toasted the launch of this year’s event.
The town biggest event of the year is expected once again to tempt hundreds of thousands of people into the town this Bank Holiday Weekend.
Popular chef Michael was back in town to officially open the festival along with cake queen Rosie Dummer — from television’s Extreme Cake Makers — who brought with her latest showstopping creation to celebrate this year’s event.
The borough’s biggest event of the year is expected once again to tempt hundreds of thousands of people into the town over the next three days.
Festival ambassador and celebrity chef, Michael said: “It’s great to be back, it’s amazing —14 years the festival has been going and I have been part of it for eight years.
“It has become one of the largest and best festivals in the north — an amazing success.
“I love the atmosphere, the people are so friendly and I enjoy it. I look forward to coming to Bolton. It’s a long old drive for me, but when I get here we are excited about the event and it is a good chance to catch up with friends which is great.”
Michael said it was the atmosphere of the festival which set it aside from others.
“The fact that it is a free festival, the fact that it is full of celebration, diversity of culture in food and more importantly it has this atmosphere where unlike certain festivals where if you can afford to be there you can go, this festival is open and for families,” said Michael.
“You can see people walking around and enjoying themselves — there is music laughter, celebration, something for children, it really is unique and quite special.
“It is not only is the biggest and best in the north it is also becoming one of the best in the UK.
“One thing I love and I think the success of the food festival is the fact that the community is put at the heart of the festival.”
Michael said that events such as the festival were key to exploring ways of regenerating town centres, attracting people back and also promoting local produce.
He said: “We are celebrating local produce which is fantastic and I think this showcases what we have, local chefs as well as the celebrity chefs, Hairy Bikers, James Martin Greg Wallace but we also have a lot of local chefs demonstrating as well at the market, which has great food and fresh produce
“If you don’t celebrate what you have got people won’t know about it and you are bringing this to the attention of the UK.”
He added: “I said once before that I have been adopted twice, once when I was six weeks old and eight years ago by Bolton.
“I come away from this event feeling good about what you are doing, the contribution I have made and more importantly as I leave I look forward to next year’s event.”
More visitors than ever are expected to attend this year’s festival.
Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Hilary Fairclough said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be involved in this launch, I have been coming to this event and it gets better and better — last year 275,00 people from all over the region and I’m sure this year we will smash that!
“Not only do we have some awe-inspiring chefs but we will also being having demonstrations from our local chefs, we have a plethora of varied musical entertainment and fabulous activities for children and young poeple to enjoy and brilliant local artists presenting their beautiful paintings and craft and they really do us proud — we are very talented din the north.
“Not forgetting the many hundreds of stalls and food and drink from all over the world.”
Leader of the council Cllr David Greenhalgh said that food and drink festival was a showcase of Bolton and its future. He said: “It is just brilliant and it is great to see the town alive.
“It is a fantastic weekend for us, not just the fact we are going to bring visitors who will see the town at its best but it is also an opportunity for us to showcase to investors our regeneration plans.”
Headline sponsors is Aldi.