Hundreds of volunteers are ready to celebrate the city of heroes on the Manchester Day Parade this Sunday, and the outcome will be certainly eclectic.
Created in 2010, the annual event focuses on a different theme for each year. This Sunday’s theme is ‘The Sky’s the Limit’, a celebration of Manchester’s heroic achievements featuring extravagant floats and costumes inspired by favourite Mancunians.
As one would expect, these will include Alan Turing and the Gallaghers, but the participants are not restricted to individuals.
One of Manchester’s biggest heroes is The Christie charity, which has instigated many global breakthroughs such as the ‘Manchester System’ of radium treatment in the 1920’s and the world’s first trial of Tamoxifen for breast cancer.
The Christie will be celebrating its 120 years of medical expertise and triumphs by participating with a walking float of patients, staff, volunteers, and the Manchester Show Choir. One of the participants includes former patient Dominic Richards from Altrincham.
Mr Richards said: “I was successfully treated at The Christie for testicular cancer. I’m still here because I acted promptly and although I have to thank The Christie for the fantastic care that was given to me, the real reason I’m alive today is because my cancer was diagnosed and treated early. Everyone knows someone who died of cancer; I’m living testament that you can live through it too.”
Stephen Anderson of The Christie charity is taking part for the third year in a row. He said: “The atmosphere on the day is truly heartwarming and we can’t wait to take to the streets again.”
A creative arts team called Global Grooves enjoys the Parade because it provides a lot of leeway in how a theme like ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ can be interpreted.
Leon Patel, the artistic director of Global Grooves, said: “You can actually interpret the Parade theme however you like. Our designs are 99% made from recycled material, so our ethos is that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
“The sky’s the limit of what can be achieved, and what’s important for us is to show our skills to the wider community. We work with people from all walks of life and we want to show that unity.
He added: “We do a different project each year. Last year’s Parade was a much smaller project for us as we had only 80 people. Now it’s just a little fewer than 180, and it’ll serve as a premier for our Junk Jam performance in July’s Jazz Festival.”
Cllr Pat Karney, Chair of Manchester Day, said: “Manchester Day isn’t just about the parade. There is a whole host of entertainment on offer from the post-parade party and Co-op village in Albert Square to the market and bar in St Ann’s Square.
“The city centre squares are perfectly located for anyone needing a mid-parade bite to eat and what could be more enjoyable that whiling away the rest of the afternoon in a square after the parade has finished.”
Not only can hungry visitors eat at The Manchester Day Parade Bake-Off to meet the best bakers from across the city, but they can also go to St Anne’s Café Bar – a new bustling alfresco café bar.
Local businesses open during the event also have discounts, including the Manchester Art Gallery’s shop and cafe, which will both have a 10% discount for all their products on Manchester Day only. Discounts at the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club, the People’s History Museum, the Days Hotel, and Hilton Deansgate also coincide with the Parade.
Councillor Karney said: "The annual Manchester Day Parade has become indelibly printed on the minds of people across the region as one of the best loved events in the city’s summer calendar.
"Each year I think we can’t beat last year, and every year I am proved wrong – it just keeps getting better and better.”
Approximately 50,000 people watched the Parade last year.
The Parade will leave Liverpool Road at 2pm, march along Deansgate, turns right at St Mary’s Gate, and continues down Cross Street and past Albert Square and the Town Hall before returning to Castlefield.
The one-mile long procession starts at 2pm and ends by 4pm.