Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to celebrate the fifth Manchester Day and its theme – GOING GLOBAL!
Huge crowds made this year’s event the best attended yet, as Mancunians enjoyed the sunshine as they were transported across the globe while watching fantastic floats, amazing costumes, musicians and more than 90 local community groups dance down Deansgate and perform across multiple city square locations - with thousands more taking to Twitter with #mcrday, in a truly international party.
The parade was led by a Manchester Day’s intrepid mascot, Gilly the Globefish, who has spent the last month visiting Manchester’s namesake towns and cities across the world.
Other highlights included a gigantic red horse, marking the Chinese Year of the Horse; an over-sized super hero school pupil; and a huge disco ball - celebrating Manchester’s musical impact on the world.
However, this year’s celebration was more than a parade, as the Manchester Day canvass was stretched across the city centre with entertainment and delicious food in Great Northern Square, Albert Square, St Ann’s Square and Exchange Square.
Highlights included roller derby girls using people to power a life-size train through Great Northern Square – the first locomotive to arrive there in decades – as well as a mass dance off recreating the YouTube sensation, Battle of the Kruger; while Albert Square was brought to its feet with the daring skills of Circus House.
Traditional sbandieratori flag throwers brought a taste of Italy to St Ann’s Square and Exchange Square was awash with music as some of the region’s top performers and musicians descended on Manchester Day.
More than 2,000 people participated in the parade, which saw local charities, community groups and companies bring theme "GOING GLOBAL" to life with help from artists and parade producers Walk the Plank.
Cllr Pat Karney, Chair of Manchester Day, said: "We’re now in our fifth year and the spectacle hasn’t dropped an inch – if anything it grows bigger each year. Absolutely fantastic. And our mascot Gilly the Globefish really stole the show as the lead float.
"Once again, it was lovely to see so many young people and families out on the streets today enjoying the show, but Manchester Day is wonderfully inclusive and many older people have also been wrapped up in the celebration as part of the city’s age friendly city status.
"It was like Rio in the city centre today - and the parade was bigger even than the Macy's Day Parade! It makes you so proud to see Manchester celebrated like this – a day that people will remember for the rest of their lives."
Cllr Rosa Battle, Manchester City Council’s executive member for culture and leisure, added: "I’m always proud to be a Mancunian, but this parade reminds us all of exactly why. The passion and excitement is always infectious – a brilliant family day out.
"The parade also provides a real boost to city centre businesses – the cafes and bars were teeming today which is great to see and really important in these difficult economic times."
The parade was produced by renowned event organisers Walk the Plank, who connected celebrated artists from across the North West with participating groups to create the wonderful artworks seen today.
Liz Pugh, Producer at Walk the Plank,said: "Every group that took part gave their all today and the parade was once again magnificent and a true reflection of the diversity of this city. We’re proud that Manchester City Council continue to support this event which promotes community cohesion, boosts creative confidence and brings people together to celebrate everything that’s great about where they live. In tough economic times, people value that shared experience more than ever."
Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd, said: "Manchester Day is a celebration of all that’s great about our city, but what makes it truly special is the way in which it brings communities together. Stronger communities are safer communities, and the work that’s been done to create the spectacular entries we saw in the parade goes far beyond the day itself because Manchester Day has a lasting impact and an enduring legacy across the city.
"I’d like to thank all of those volunteers and groups who put in the time and effort to put on such a stunning show, not least the Greater Manchester Police Cadets who worked so hard to bring GMP’s colourful entry to life."
The parade also received significant private sector sponsorship with Laing O’Rourke returning once again as gold sponsor, and First TransPennine Express as silver sponsors.
Other sponsors include: Great Northern Warehouse Square, Wates Construction, Keepmoat, ISG, Cruden Group, Morgan Sindall and G4S.
Our other supporters were: Transport for Greater Manchester, NCP, Greater Manchester Police, KIER, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Redgate, RNCM and The Manchester College.
Media partners were Capital FM and MEN Media.