Angry parents have slammed a special Winter Weekend event for Christmas after finding a plastic ice rink, deflated snow globe and overcrowding.
Excited families queued for up to two hours for Bolton’s Weekend after they had been promised an ice-skating rink, Christmas stalls, a Santa’s Grotto, a snow globe and an appearance from Disney characters.
But, though kids under 12 were allowed in for free, adults paid £5 on the door or £3 in advance to find a "filthy" grotto and stalls which resembled a "jumble sale".
The ice rink was actually plastic tiles on which a member of staff sprayed soapy water, Manchester Evening News says.
And the snow globe was branded "dangerous" after it collapsed with children inside.
Claire Cassidy, 23, went on Saturday with her two-year-old son, two friends and their two children.
The angry mother said: "There was no Christmas atmosphere, no trees, no music.
"The advert showed a big ice rink and it turned out to be just plastic tiles and a guy putting down soap."
"It was filthy.
"The snow globe was deflated each time kids went in, parents were saying it was dangerous.
"It was crammed – it was an hour queuing for the globe and about two hours queuing for Santa’s Grotto.
"People who had paid in advance said they were told they wouldn’t have to queue.
"It was a very disappointing experience."
Other fuming parents ranted on social media.
Sarah Halliday tweeted the photos of the plastic "ice rink" and deflated snow globe, adding: "the most overhyped mis-sold event I’ve ever had the displeasure of attending."
Another visitor tweeted: "We went to Bolton Winter Wonderland yesterday and it was a complete joke!
"Inside was like a jumble sale and the ice skating was a disgrace and nothing like advertised! I want to claim my money back"
Jeff Chadburn wrote on Facebook: "Did anyone see the ‘magical winter lane’ highlighted on the map?
"Felt more Christmassy on my walk around B&M bargains. Bar the grotto, which we didn’t see, there’s nothing in the theme of Christmas or winter at all!
"On the approach over the bridge you see the struggle of parents with prams evacuating the overly loud fun fair after realising they too had been deceived into thinking this was a child friendly festive day!
"This event does not live up to the title winter wonderland at all, car boot sale at best."
Several people also claimed that a large number of negative reviews had been deleted from the Winter Weekend’s official Facebook page and that they have not been given a response when asking for refunds.
When the Manchester Evening News rang the landline number on the Winter Weekend page, it was "out of service".
Organisers have not yet replied to further requests for comment, but event manager Martin Robinson spoke to the Bolton News on Saturday.
He acknowledged there had been "issues" with queuing adding: "We had a lot more people turn up than we expected.
"We have moved the grotto and snow globe around to make queuing easier and get more people through in a better way.
"This event is fantastic for Bolton.
"The organisers have tried to bring the local community and businesses together.
"The response at the event has actually been really positive.
"Most of the people that went away yesterday were happy."
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