Thousands flock to Manchester's first-ever Christmas Parade

Ice Man walking in the parade

Ice Man walking in Manchester's first-ever Christmas Parade

Thousands flocked to Santa's favourite city today for Manchester's first-ever Christmas Parade which was heralded the heart-warming event of the season and a brilliant success.

Crowds young and old lined the streets for the free festive-first which brought an extra special dose of Christmas magic to the city centre.

The magical parade - the only one of its kind in the UK - saw 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 Manchester's iconic Town Hall Clock, the parade was filled with everyone's favourite festive things.  

Candy Cane stilt walkers, Runaway Presents, Christmas Elves, and Dancing Snowmen brought a smile to everyone's faces as they interacted with the crowds, alongside some cheeky Cocky Robins, a Giant Reindeer, Arctic Fox, Snowy Owl, silvery spikey Jacks of Frost, and an enchanting giant Snow Globe.

Of course, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a Sugar Plum Fairy and a Toy Soldier or two, and amongst the highlights of the Parade was a mini Christmas Toy Procession.

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

And making sure it was Jingle Bells all the way with live music, moves, and sounds was 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.

Following in the footsteps of the city's world-famous Manchester Day Parade - which after starting small for its first parade back in 2010 is now the envy of many other global cities - the free festive parade went down so well with the crowds of families and festive shoppers who thronged into the city centre to see it, that councillors are now considering whether to bring it back again next Christmas.

Councillor Pat Karney, Christmas spokesperson for Manchester City Council, said: "Well, what a wonderful parade! It was simply amazing - the heart-warming event of the season - Manchester at its magical Merry Christmas best! 

"It really was one of the best things we've ever done - what made it for me was just seeing thousands of youngsters of all ages, smiling and waving and celebrating the magic of Christmas.  

"We already know Manchester is Santa's favourite city, and we want all the children and young people who grow up here to know this too, and to have really great memories of Manchester at Christmas."

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 today's Manchester Christmas Parade, families will also be able to catch the Toy Procession with its magical Sugar Plum Fairies and Toy Soldiers next 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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