Ten years in and still going strong this year’s Manchester Day was once again a triumphant success scoring top marks with the thousands of people who flocked to enjoy it.
After a decade of wowing the crowds it seemed fitting that the anniversary theme of Manchester Day was ‘TEN OUT OF TEN.
For ten years the communities which make Manchester such a special place to live and work came out in their droves to be recognised for the contributions they make.
For ten years the people of Manchester have come out no matter what the weather threw at them to enjoy the carnival spirit of the day.
And for ten years Manchester Day has continued to grow and grow to become one of the most popular and meaningful days on the city’s bursting calendar.
This year’s parade saw over 40 community groups take part in a colourful pageant representing the rich cultural diversity of Manchester, each of whom created their own individual response to the theme 10/10. The scene was set with a fantastic lead piece celebrating the spirit of modern Manchester made up from participants from all of the groups who took part in the parade.
A wide range of subjects, themes and achievements were brought to life in a range of incredible floats and costumes. Manchester Splash Community Swimming Club chose to celebrate Ethel Sunny Lowry, the first woman to cross the English Channel while One Eyed Theatre from Oldham showcased the industrial heritage of the city with their steam punk-inspired mix of cogs and wheels.
Meanwhile, a diversity of cultures were represented by a wide range of groups including Anamika celebrating the festivals of Bangladesh; the Colibri Mexican Folkdance UK group; The Manchester Chinese Centre; the Filipino Anglo Club; the Indian Association Manchester; KYSO from the Caribbean and the British Pakistani Cultural Association.
The parade also gave the chance for important voices and causes to be heard, including the endangered Orangutan represented by the Voice of Ansi, Manchester Young Lives who work with disadvantaged children and young people across Manchester and The Men’s Room who support people from the LGBTQ+ community – and who were also flying the flag for human rights by wearing t-shirts emblazoned with a design by Chinese artists Ai Weiwei to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Once again, the parade was enhanced by a strong line up of international artists who, this year, joined the Wow! Workshop creative teams from Brazil, Croatia, Egypt and Kerala.
For this year’s festival sustainability was built into every aspect of the carnival. As Manchester tries to become one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the UK, and carbon neutral by 2038.
As much of the waste associated with the festival will be recycled, as well as an emphasis for the float makers and concession owners using locally sourced produce wherever possible to reduce the carbon footprint of the event.
This also runs parallel with a complete absence of floats being driven by petrol-powered vehicles. Everything in the parade was pushed, pulled and cycled, and many of the parade pieces had been recycled and up-cycled or created using sustainable materials.
Councillor Pat Karney, Chair of Manchester Day, said: “Ten years ago when we set out to celebrate all the things which make Manchester great, we would never have imagined just how quickly Manchester Day was taken into people’s hearts.
“Manchester has gone through so much in the past ten years. We have had soaring highs and desperate lows. But what has never changed is the enduring spirit of the people of this city. This day has always been about them and I am so proud that we have been able to reach this milestone.
“It’s not often that I’m lost for words but on days like today it’s hard to express how proud you feel to see thousands of people parading through Deansgate united by the common bond we all share - our love of Manchester.”
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, said: “It is a wonderful thing to see thousands of people cheering on the Manchester Day Parade. This event has come to encapsulate all that is good about Manchester and I’m that we are here today to celebrate its 10th outing.”
Liz Pugh, Producer at Walk the Plank, said: “The stops have well and truly been pulled out for Manchester Day 2019! So many hundreds and thousands of hours have gone into making the stunning floats and costumes which we’ve seen today and I really hope people leave appreciating just how much effort goes into them.
"This event seems to get better year after year and we have to extend a huge thank you to all of the volunteers which helped make the day a success, as well as the artists, performers and council workers who work tirelessly to make this amazing free event a reality.
"Also, the level of creative excellence and artistic talent that was clearly apparent throughout the parade has been made possible by the continuing support of Arts Council England, who have played a key role investing in the development of artists through the ELEVATE programme which we deliver in partnership with the City Council.”
Manchester Day is created by Manchester People. Commissioned by Manchester City Council. Produced by Walk the Plank.