THIS year’s Bolton Food and Drink Festival will be the most family friendly festival to date — with a new children’s zone ready to thrill young foodies.

Children’s television star Katy Ashworth is just one of the faces booked to entertain the little ones at the festival, which starts tomorrow.

The CBeebies presenter will be singing, dancing and chatting with families in a number of sold-out shows at the children’s zone, which is based in Le Mans Crescent.

It is the first time the street has been closed off for the four-day festival, as a record 130 food, drink and craft traders take over the town centre.

The markets, which open from 10am tomorrow, will be located in Victoria Square, Oxford Street, Deansgate and Market Street, with arts and crafts stalls situated along New-port Street.

More children’s attrac-tions will also be on offer at Crompton Place and in the Octagon activities, includ-ing storytelling, glow-in-the-dark puppet shows, and cake and biscuit decorating.

Beales department store is also putting on an outdoor games play area outside its menswear doors facing the town hall during the festival.

Leader of Bolton Council Cllr Cliff Morris said he was delighted that Katy was coming to Bolton to help add to the run.

He said: “She is a very well-known and popular CBeebies presenter and loved by thousands of children and their families.

“The tickets for her shows were snapped up really quickly.

“This year’s festival is even bigger and better.

“We’ve expanded it to include Le Mans Crescent for the first time.

“It’s a lovely historic setting for Katy’s shows, and the Octagon Theatre will also be putting on free performances and there will be free storytelling sessions in the zone.

“There’s also free children’s activities in the Crompton Place shopping centre every day.”

Food from all over the world will be on offer at this year’s event.

The event is now in its ninth year and dishes available will include mouthwatering recipes from India, Thailand, Spain and China.

Festival favourites return-ing to Victoria Square this year also include Italian cuisine Franca’s and vegetarian food trailer Hungry Gecko, run by Masterchef finalist Jackie Kearney.

This year, Market Place Europe will provide a pop-up beer garden on the square, while Manchester bar Kro will open for business in Deansgate.