Manchester's magical first-ever Christmas Parade is this weekend - all you need to know!

  • Thursday 8 December 2022

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Image shows a Fairy Queen in a giant snow globe

Fairy Queen in enchanting Christmas snow globe

Santa's favourite city is gearing up for its first-ever Manchester Christmas Parade this weekend which promises to bring some extra special sparkle and magic to the city centre for visitors and Christmas shoppers alike.

Building on the success of the city's world-famous Manchester Day Parade, which after starting small for its first parade back in 2010 now regularly sees thousands of people flock to the city centre to watch it, this festive first for the city takes place this Sunday 11 December at 1 pm.

The magical parade will see more than 200 parade participants take to the streets and weave their way through the city centre in a magical parade filled with all the sights, sounds and sparkle of Christmas.

Led by the big red man himself - Santa Claus - and a very festive version of our iconic Town Hall Clock, spectators can expect to see a parade filled with everyone's favourite festive things.  

Think Candy Cane stilt walkers, Runaway Presents, Christmas Elves, and Dancing Snowmen.  Add in some cheeky Cocky Robins, a Giant Reindeer, an Arctic Fox, Snowy Owl, silvery spikey Jacks of Frost, and an enchanting giant Snow Globe - and suddenly it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. 

And making sure it's jingle bells all the way with live music, moves, and sounds will be the Bloco Band playing Santa's favourite Christmas songs to get everyone in the festive mood, along with dancers dressed in their sparkly best Christmas kit.

Of course Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a Sugar Plum Fairy and a Toy Soldier or two, and one of the highlights of the Parade is sure to be the Christmas Toy Procession which will bring up the rear of the parade.  

Created by outdoor arts specialists Walk the Plank, as well as Sugar Plum Fairies and Toy Soldiers, the Toy Procession will also see a Fairy Mouse following the parade, squeaking its way around the streets, along with the biggest Christmas Crackers you've ever seen.

The Parade will set off at 1 pm from Deansgate at the junction with Blackfriars Street on a circular route that will see it travel south along Deansgate, before turning left onto St Ann's Street, then left onto Cross Street.  It will then travel down Cross Street, past Boots and the Royal Exchange Theatre, before turning left onto Market Street, going past Marks and Spencer, and along St Mary's Gate to Deansgate - finishing where it started.

There will be an accessible viewing point for anyone who needs it outside Boots on Cross Street - with spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Manchester Christmas Parade is expected to last up to an hour from start to finish.

Councillor Pat Karney, Christmas spokesperson for Manchester City Council, said: "I can't tell if we're more excited about Manchester's first-ever Christmas Parade, or if Santa is.  He keeps telling me if we give him a starring role at the front of it I'll be on his Nice List, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed..

"We really can't wait to welcome everyone into town for this festive first for the city.  It's going to be wonderful to see everyone coming together to enjoy it, especially after the last few years - Manchester at its magical Merry Christmas best, and all for free!

"So wrap up warm, pull on your boots and a Christmas hat, and come and join us!"

Businesses based in the city centre have also been working in partnership with the council throughout the festive season via Manchester BID (Business Improvement District) to help make sure Christmas is magical in Manchester this year.

This has included commissioning a series of six Festive Sundays, filled with sparkling street performances featuring illuminated bands, roaming puppets, stilt-walkers, and supersized penguins - as well as  the Christmas Toy Procession - to delight and surprise families in the run-up to Christmas.

As an extra bonus following its starring role in the Manchester Christmas Parade, families will also be able to catch the Toy Procession with its magical Sugar Plum Fairies and Toy Soldiers later in the day this Sunday at 3 pm and 4 pm, and again on Sunday 18 December at 12 noon, 2 pm and 4 pm, when it will be in and around Manchester Arndale, Market Street, and St Ann's Square.

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