A carnival atmosphere will come to Exchange Square this Friday as Manchester prepares for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
Sports fans will be entertained by free performances from Manchester School of Samba and 10-piece ska act Baked a la Ska at the London 2012 Olympics Live Site on the city centre square from 5.30-8pm.
Visitors can then watch the build-up to the opening ceremony on the big screen from 8pm, before the ceremony itself will be shown from 9pm-12.30am.
Grandstands will be put up along Corporation Street, allowing people to watch events from Team GB's opening football match against Senegal at Old Trafford on Thursday July 26 to the closing ceremony on August 12.
The extra seats will extend the capacity of Exchange Square to 5,000, providing the feel of a large sporting arena, while cafes outside the Corn Exchange will be extending their outdoor seating areas throughout the competition.
People arriving to watch Friday's opening ceremony will also be able to enjoy Olympic-themed food and drink at Hope And Glory, a newly reopened pop-up bar run by Heart Soul Rock And Roll, who are also behind the Yatch Club in Spinningfields.
Sports fans can also get into the Olympic spirit by having a go at football, with a mini pitch that has been set up next to the site, along with a penalty shoot-out zone featuring special equipment telling competitors the speed of their shots. Coaches from Manchester United Soccer School will be on hand from July 31 until August 5 to give hints.
A badminton centre, enabling visitors to try the sport, will be set up next to the pop-up bar throughout the Olympics, while there will also be special temporary 'have a go' facilities on Exchange Square over the next few weeks.
A mini triathlon zone, including a pool replicating the ordeal of swimming in open water, will be set up on August 4-7 to provide a taste of this gruelling endurance sport, while activities ranging from basketball to fencing will be on offer at the Cadbury's tent.
Would-be Mark Cavendishes can have a go at racing each other on static bikes provided by Manchester's National Cycling Centre which will be set up there on August 9-11.
All key Team GB events will be shown on the square's big screen throughout the games, and anyone who wants more information about what's on can use a special tool allowing fans to search by date or sport, available at www.manchester.gov.uk/london2012.
Cllr Rosa Battle, Manchester City Council's executive member for culture and leisure, said: "Manchester residents are passionate about sport, and with all the action being shown on the big screen, Exchange Square will certainly be the place to be on Friday night - as well as throughout the Olympics."