THE countdown to Christmas officially gets underway next Thursday with the big switch on and the launch of free car parking for festive shoppers. Thousands are expected to attend and this year with two shows on the night ­— the main stage in Victoria Square and a second community stage in Market Place Shopping Centre, which is sponsoring the big switch-on. Saiqa Chaudhari gives a rundown of who's appearing and what to expect at this year's Christmas light switch on.

The Bolton News:

THE dazzling full line-up for Bolton Christmas lights switch-on has been unveiled and free parking for Christmas shoppers is back!

Hollyoaks actor, X Factor finalist and Albert Halls panto star, Ray Quinn push the button to light up Bolton town centre next Thursday. He will be joined by indie rockers Jordan Allen and local performers.

The Bolton News:


The main festive show starts at 5pm in Victoria Square, compered by Jon Holling from Tower FM.

Highlights will include Bolton indie rockers Jordan Allen, playing with a new line-up, Redd from Bolton, who has topped the charts across Europe and Asia,and the popular Rock Choir will be back singing three songs.

A performance from community dance group Bolton Allstarz Children’s Workshop will kick off the show, followed by 10-year-old singer Kallea, from Bolton Dance and Performing Arts College, who has co-written songs with international songwriter Darren Martyn.

Other community highlights include the Bolton Ukulele Group, a dance performance from Bolton Lads and Girls Club and a solo from singer Izzie Ingham. Ibby Ismail, Chairman of Bolton CVS, will read out “Boltopia” ­— a poem he has penned celebrating our town.

The cast of the Albert Halls pantomime, Aladdin, will take to the stage with Ray before they join the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Hilary Fairclough, and Father Christmas, to flick the switch and set off a spectacular firework finale.

Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Fairclough, said: “I am really looking forward to this year’s lights switch-on.It will be a fantastic event and will get everyone in the mood for the exciting build-up to Christmas."

The Bolton News:


A colourful parade will wind its way through town. From 6.10pm, a parade featuring 100 schoolchildren with handmade lanterns, street performers, Father Christmas, and the Mayor and Mayoress will leave Churchgate, processing down Deansgate. Dozens of lantern creations crafted by community groups, and street performers will leave the Market Place Shopping Centre at 6.15pm. Both parades will join at the junction with Market Street before arriving in Victoria Square at 6.25pm.

The Bolton News:


The fun at the Market Place Shopping Centre will start at 3pm with Bolton FM with Ray taking part in a question and answer session at 3.30pm. From 4pm to 7.30pm, the Market Place Stage will see performances from Bolton Allstarz Children’s Workshop, and singers Kallea, Redd, and Georgia Bradshaw. Other highlights include Bolton Ukulele group, Izzie Ingham and Luke McColl.

Nikki Wilson-Cook, Centre Manager, Market Place added: “We are delighted to be supporting Bolton’s Christmas Lights switch-on again ­— an event which totally embodies the spirit of Christmas. Ray is the perfect local star to turn on our town’s lights and I can’t wait to witness the festive excitement on the night.”

The Bolton News:


The Christmas light switch on also marks the start of free parking after 3pm in the Octagon, Topp Way and Deane Road NCP multi-storey car parks on the night.

Free weekday parking after 3pm will continue until January 3 in these car parks, as well as free parking on weekends and bank holidays. The weekday parking initiative, which is in addition to the free weekend and Bank Holiday parking already on offer, will run until Friday, January 3.

Bolton Council’s Director of Place, Gerry Brough, said: “In the run-up to Christmas and New Year, we wanted to support our local businesses and make it easy and affordable for shoppers to come into the town centre. The lights switch-on marks the start of a special festive programme for all the family in the town centre in the run-up to Christmas. Christmas can be an expensive time for families and we hope that this goes some way to helping them enjoy the Yuletide season.”


A full programme of Christmas fun will be coming to Bolton with this year’s Winter Festival will start on December 6 and details will be announced shortly