Tens of thousands of people lined the streets today (Sunday, 18 June) to experience the city-wide celebration of Manchester with this year’s theme – ABRACADABRA!
The huge crowds created a magical atmosphere as they enjoyed the fantastic floats, amazing costumes, musicians and more than 80 local community groups weaved their way down Deansgate, through Albert Square and perform across multiple city square locations.
A special tribute led the parade, honouring those who lost their lives during the Manchester Arena attack, as well as those who were injured, along with their families and the heroic efforts of the emergency services.
The tribute saw 22 young people hold balloons aloft while carrying a banner stating “MANCHESTER REMEMBERS”, followed by members from the emergency services as a thank you for their heroic efforts after the attack.
Setting the scene of this year’s ABRACADBRA theme, the lead float was a huge blue genie brimming with mysterious magic, while charmed carpets flew around its base.
Other highlights included the Manchester Malayalee Association whose fire headdresses came all the way from Brazil, and were part of a celebratory ritual of the Keralan deity Theyyam. The head pieces themselves were made by students from the Rio de Janeiro-based carnival company Spectaculu.
Stanley Grove Primary Academy and Rushbrook Primary Academy brought back to life the story of Maharajah the elephant, who – unable to fit on a train - reportedly walked all the way from Edinburgh to Manchester to be part of the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens.
Part of the ELEVATE artists development programme, the Europia group brought wild magic to the streets of Manchester inspired by their Eastern European roots as a commuter in his car magically transfigures into a living tree!
And The Wiltz Bee flew through the parade, led by a group from the Manchester Chinese Centre. The bee, which is similar to the iconic emblem of our city, was sent over from Luxemburg by the people of Wiltz to show their solidarity with the people of Manchester.
Now customary for Manchester Day, the event spilled over filling the public squares as the creative canvas was stretched across the city centre for the afternoon. The crowds were spoilt by a spell-binding array of performance and entertainment – along with delicious food – in St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square and Cathedral Gardens.
Highlights in the squares included, The Magic Circle in Exchange Square, where amateur magicians were put through their paces in front of the Manchester Day crowds. The acrobatic stunts of Circus House wowed the crowds, while the day’s finale – a feat of escapology from Dr Diablo – kept the crowds holding their breaths!
Commissioned by Manchester City Council, and produced by local outdoor arts experts Walk the Plank, Manchester Day is now in its eighth successful year and has evolved into so much more than a parade.
The driving principle behind this hugely popular civic celebration is inclusivity and participation, with contributions from groups representing the city’s diverse spectrum of cultures as well as groups representing people with disabilities, homeless people and immigrant communities.
The event has also attracted internationally renowned artists and guests from other countries, including Brazil and Ireland, who have come to see how Manchester puts on such a huge celebration, and also be part of the show!
Many took to Twitter using #mcrday17 making the day a truly international party.
For more information visit: www.manchesterday.co.uk or join the conversation on Twitter via @manc_day.
Don’t forget the photo competition is open until 5pm on Monday 26 June for the chance to win some incredible prizes. Visit www.manchesterday.co.uk/competition to find out more.
Cllr Pat Karney, Chair of Manchester Day, said: “Magic was in the air today. It has been an incredibly special day where the whole of Manchester has come together as one to celebrate our city and our shared history.
“The sheer ambition of Manchester Day is incredible. It seems to grow and grow each year and now we’re in our eighth celebration it feels like the whole of the city has come out with everyone they know to the city centre to enjoy the show. It’s always fantastic to see families and friends come together and share the day.
“The parade, as always, was spectacular in its vision and creativity. Of course, this year we couldn’t let Manchester Day go by without honouring those who lost their lives during the Manchester Arena attack – and of course our emergency services. Today’s tribute was a fitting remembrance.”
Liz Pugh, Producer at Walk the Plank, said:“One of the many amazing things about Manchester Day is not just the way the whole city comes together to celebrate, but the way in which it gives people and communities from a wide range of cultures the chance to express themselves in an exuberant and creative way, right here in this great city. In light of recent tragic events, it was fantastic to see the diversity and collective unity of Manchester visible to everyone in another great parade."
Of the tribute at the beginning of the parade, Jon Rouse, Chief Officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "Including the emergency services is not only recognition of the skill, compassion and capability of our dedicated teams - but it is also chance for our health professionals to show their backing for the city and all the different elements that make its communities so strong and vibrant."
The parade also received significant private sector sponsorship with BT returning as a key sponsor after being part of the event in past years.
Other sponsors include: Redgate, Laing O’Rourke, Biffa, Vinci Construction, G4S and Turner and Townsend.
Our other supporters were: RCP Parking, Metrolink, Matt and Phreds, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, the Royal Northern College of Music, and Dance Manchester.
Media partners were Key 103 and MEN Media.