After a year of lockdowns, restrictions, the city says “Thank You Manchester” this weekend with a one-off fun-filled festival for the whole family – including the Manchester Love Letters.
The Thank You weekend (Sat 14 and Sun 15 August – from 1pm to 6pm each day) will see the city centre squares brought to life with free activities, music and street theatre – paying tribute to all the sacrifices people have made over the last 18 months, while thanking the city for their resilience against the global pandemic.
Both days will be packed with things to see and do to give people the opportunity be part of the celebration, while also managing the number of people in the city’s squares, enable social distancing and keep visitors feeling safe.
Thank You opening event – St Ann’s Square (1pm)
Leader of the Council Sir Richard Leese and Cllr Jonna Midgeley, executive member for health and care, will open proceedings on Saturday with a heart-felt thank you to some of the heroes of the pandemic. NHS workers, social care workers, vaccinations staff and volunteers have been invited as guests of honour as part of the open act of the Thank You Weekender.
Manchester Love Letters – St Ann’s Square (Throughout the weekend)
You can be part of this oversized Love Letter to Manchester – a huge installation of human-sized letters, 1.4metres high and more than 14metres long. Three local artists will decorate the huge letters thorough the weekend, while visitors are encouraged to add their own messages of thanks and gratitude. There's no need to book, just turn up. Led by Art Battle Manchester.
Fun for all the family – across the city centre’s squares:
Look out for animal-tastic visitors, includng a ginormous chicken and bright pink flamingos.
St Ann’s Square
Alongside the Manchester Love Letters soak up some live music as well as a Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance outside St Ann’s Church on Sunday at 12.30pm - including a one minute’s silence for those lost.
Be surrounded by large-scale butterflies or take part in a whimsical tea party, set aside magic, circus acts and street theatre.
St Peter’s Square
A giant vegetable patch will spring up next to the tram tracks and get crafty with No Eyed Theatre.
Experience the square like you’ve never seen it before, with hat juggling, spinning plates and moustachioed waiters wile mooching round the Manchester Market.
Councillor Pat Karney, Chair of Thank You Manchester Weekender, on behalf of Manchester City Council, said:
"The past year has been one like no other. We have been tried and tested through lockdowns and restrictions, but what has always shone out is the resilience of Manchester.
“This weekend is for everyone in the city to say a huge thank you for supporting each other – and looking after themselves – during this last year, and to thousands of heroes who have kept our city moving and our incredible NHS staff.
“Manchester can put on a party like no other and we want people to come into town and be part of the magic. The attractions will be spread out across the city – helping people to keep their distance.
“Look out for the Manchester Love Letters in St Ann’s Square – write your message to those who have helped you. Say Thank You Manchester while enjoying the fabulous entertainment on offer.
“See you there.”