Manchester Day: City is buzzing as a festival a hit and Little Amal makes long awaited return

After a long three years, Manchester Day has returned with a bang, a shimmy and plenty of buzz. Thousands crowded along Deansgate to celebrate everything about Manchester – and what a party it was.

After setting off at the crossroads with Liverpool Road, the parade snaked its way up to the top of Deansgate, before turning on to St Mary’s Gate (where Marks and Spencer is). It then turned right onto Cross Street, past the Royal Exchange Theater and King Street, before turning right onto John Dalton Street and then back down Deansgate where it finished at around 2.30pm.

From the Queen Bee leading the Parade to the bouncing babies in their oversized pram, nothing could top the incredible atmosphere of a city that has come together following numerous lockdowns and the COVID pandemic. The theme was ‘Our Year’, and focussed on the children and young people of Greater Manchester, who’ve helped bring the day into fruition.

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There was also extra emphasis on the environment and sustaining our natural world. On the 50 floats taking part there were magnificent butterflies, peppered moths and lots and lots of little bees.




Music emanated from every section of the parade including a fabulous steel band that got the crowd dancing, and the delightful drums of the British Pakistani Agricultural Society. Also joining in the party atmosphere were some brilliant dancing groups, who added to the festival vibes.



Little Amal delighted both adults and children as she made her way through the city

And making her long-awaited return was a crowd favorite – Little Amal. The 3.4 meter high puppet of a Syrian girl refugee left both adults and children in awe as she joined at Quay Street and made her way round the city centre. Handing out flowers to some participants of the parade and waving to the crowd, she was a highlight.

Internationally acclaimed and award-winning production designer Dan Potra is the Creative Director behind this year’s parade. His past work includes the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, three Commonwealth Games as well as production design on the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.




Speaking to the Manchester Evening News Before the parade, he said there were over 1,300 participants involved. He said: “It’s an amazing number to see and hear. It’s very exciting to be here, I really hope people will be out here enjoying themselves

“Judging by the atmosphere and the energy of the participants, it is looking to be a very promising day.”




Cllr Pat Karney said: “It’s going to be a very special day this year, it’s been put together by all the young people across the city. There’s going to be dancing, there’s going to be singing, it’s just going to be a great day.

“We’re going to give a big hug around Manchester because we’ve been through a difficult time but we are back.”




The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Donna Ludford said the parade looked ‘absolutely fabulous’. “The young people have put so much effort into being here today, I’m absolutely thrilled as you can see, I’ve got a smile from ear to ear. Thank you everybody for turning up,” she said.




Liz Pugh, of Walk The Plank added: “This year the focus is on children and young people so we got lots of new groups who have not taken part before and also we have made some structures that are about environmental sustainability and of course that’s an issue that close to the heart of a lot of young people, so you will see some amazing floats, some of Manchester’s diverse communities and lots and lots of children and young people. Quite a lot of ants, quite a lot of butterflies and some moths.”




Asked if there were going to be any bees, the infamous symbol of Manchester, she said: “Of course there’s going to be bees – you can’t do Manchester Day without bees. The theme is Our Year, and it’s about the energy of the future.”

“I think there is a growing excitement. I think for a lot of young people, they maybe don’t remember Manchester Day because the last one was three years ago, and for those of us that do, this is the 11th year – it’s just great that it’s back again.”




Alongside the parade, there was plenty going on throughout the city centre. In Piccadilly Gardens, a live DJ blasted tunes which got the crowd dancing, along with street dancing, and plenty of activities for the children.

At the Cathedral Gardens there was live dancing and music, alongside some delicious food and drink stalls. There was something for everyone, and everyone was out celebrating (what we think) is the best city in the world.

The bees still buzz – and they certainly did today.

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