The Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2022 is officially here and the town is already buzzing as thousands flock to Victoria Square and surrounding streets to celebrate the bank holiday weekend.

With 180 stalls and more than 60 live music performances, the town is set for a weekend full of entertainment, great food and refreshing drinks.

The four-day weekend began on Friday as councillors, the mayor, guests and chef Michael Caines attended an official launch party.

Speaking at the event, Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Akhtar Zaman, said: "I am so pleased to be able to welcome you here today, at what is the 17th year of the Bolton Food and Drink Festival.

"If like me you have visited the event over the years I am sure you will be amazed at how it has grown from a small tent on the square with a few traders to this extravaganza.

"Putting on these events is something that we are proud of here in Bolton, offering inclusive enjoyable activities to our residents and visitors and creating and encouraging everyone to visit Bolton and support our local economy is ultimately what all of this is about.

"So I do hope you will take the time to wander around the festival site and take in the sites and sounds of all our wonderful traders and entertainers, thank you."

At the launch event, Bolton Council Leader Martyn Cox said the festival is "widely recognised as one of its best of its kind in the country".

On Friday, Michael Caines also shared his culinary skills in a pasta cooking class whilst hundreds of traders sold delicious food, drink and various items such as jewellery, candles and much more.

Live music was performed across the town and stallholders are excited to see what this year's food festival will bring.

Sisters, Claire Mather and Jillian Harrison, have a cocktail stall at the festival.

The Bolton News: Claire and her sister Jillian at their stall Movers & ShakersClaire and her sister Jillian at their stall Movers & Shakers

They have attended the food festival for three years and they are looking forward to welcoming people to their stall this weekend. 

Claire said: "We are offering people cocktails and beers and we've got music and we have paid for a DJ tomorrow so we're looking forward to it.

"This is our third year here, each year is different because of the weather but there's always really nice people.

"It's a bit quiet so far but it's usually like that on a Friday and usually we have a queue out the gate on a Saturday and Sunday so it's usually really fun."

Various activities have also been going on across the town for youngsters and families and the fun continues over the course of the weekend.