Bolton's festive programme has been unveiled  - but cost pressures mean there will be no traditional Christmas light switch on.

Instead a festival of light evoking a famous saying by Bolton’s Peter Kay will take place.

The “Put Big Light On” festival of light will take place across Bolton town centre and include art installations inspired by the Northern Lights.

The last traditional Christmas light switch took place in 2019, with others being cancelled as a result of Covid.

And now this year because of costs.

The last one featured Jenny Ryan switching on the lights, following in the footsteps of many celebrities.

The Bolton News: When Jenny pulled the switchWhen Jenny pulled the switch

But Town Hall chiefs hope that planned events will prove hugely popular with families.

Bolton Council leader Cllr Nick Peel said: “This programme represents a significant step up from the events the town held last year.

“The Christmas festivities are a huge part of our annual events calendar and we’re all looking forward to getting this year’s programme underway.”

The Bolton News: The moon exhibition will feature at Bolton LibraryThe moon exhibition will feature at Bolton Library (Image: Bolton Council)

Cllr Peel pointed out that 'Put Big Light On', festival will take place between November 30 to December 21.

The title takes its name from one of Bolton comic Peter Kay’s most famous saying and is designed to give the events a distinctly local flavour.

The festival will include a moon exhibition up close at Bolton Library and a Northern Lights display over Victoria Square.

The installations will be created by artists from around the world including Borealis by Dan Acher, Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram and Evanescent by Atelier Sisu.

The Bolton News: 'Borealis' will feature above Victoria Square'Borealis' will feature above Victoria Square (Image: Bolton Council)

The traditional Father Christmas grotto will return to Crompton Place Shopping Centre along with a  Jingle Bell Bus ride around the town centre.

Cinderella  will be showing from December 1 to 30, with a relaxed performance aimed at being accessible to people with autism or learning disabilities set to feature at the Albert Halls.

The Bolton News: Traditional firework display on switchTraditional firework display on switch

The Mayor’s Christmas Fair will take place on December 2 from 10am to 2pm, featuring stalls run by charities and community groups.

Bolton Council executive cabinet member for culture Cllr Nadeem Ayub, said: “Christmas has always been a fantastic time of year in Bolton with plenty to see and do in the Winter months.

“It’s great to see such a wide range of cultural activity taking place, especially the sessions that make such wonderful events accessible to all.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Bolton town centre and the district centres full of people enjoying what’s on offer, boosting the local economy and supporting our local businesses.”

Bolton Market will also be running family activities on December 2,9 and 16 while Lightbulb Princess show will run at Bolton Library Theatre.

The Bolton News:

Further out from the town centre, Smithills Hall will also be hosting a Father Christmas Experience.

Bolton Council has said that it hopes that together these events will together make up a low cost alternative to a formal lights switch on event.

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A spokesperson said: “As rising costs put significant pressure on all councils, we have reviewed and refocused our events budget to get the most benefit for local residents.

“This includes the decision not to organise a formal Christmas ‘switch-on’ since 2019, as these are one-off events which are costly to organise and run safely.

“Instead, we aim to provide residents and visitors a variety of free and low-cost activity throughout the Christmas period to make them accessible for everybody.

“We have created a busy programme of activity, headlined by the magical Put Big Light On festival, that will span a longer period and provide more opportunity to visit the town centre, see the light installations and take part in festive events.”