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Manchester Day paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the arena, their families, and those who were injured at the annual parade on Sunday 18 June.
Thousands gathered in Manchester’s city centre to celebrate Manchester Day featuring 80 community groups and special tribute to those killed in last month’s terror attack.
Manchester Day opened with a stunning parade that spread a carnival spirit throughout the city, bringing together a large number of communities, each adding their own unique style of entertainment to the huge event.
The event, started in 2010 and celebrated once per year ever since, is commissioned by the Manchester Council and takes inspiration from the New York’s Thanksgiving parade.
Departing from Liverpool Street, the parade continued through Albert Square, before finishing at Exchange Square. The higher temperatures saw record numbers of Mancunians and visitors attending as they gathered early to secure good vantage points of the spectacle.
With a punctual start, the procession was fronted by a group of 22 children and teenagers that rendered tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena attack. Each of them walked the parade route holding a pink balloon that represented one of the deceased. A banner reading, ‘Manchester remembers 22.05.17’ along with the Manchester bee was also carried in memory of the tragic losses the city has felt in the last month.
Anna Kousidou, a 21-year-old student, who was at the Manchester Arena during the night of the attack commented: “It’s really good to see this kind of events and see how people can be really compassionate in this difficult time. You clearly get a feeling of community and solidarity and that everyone is doing their best to heal after everything.”
Anna added: “I think this day will be a good opportunity to lift everyone’s spirits and have fun for a day.”
Elizabeth Dickinson, who was at the event with her one-year-old son Francisco commented how the event was a great opportunity for children to have fun and engage with the community: “Today is an event for everyone but especially for children since they will see this parade and have fun, but also learn about the diversity of Manchester and I think that teaches them tolerance.”
What followed was a spectacle of colourful costumes, music, dance and a display of Manchester’s multicultural community, with participants from all ages and backgrounds. Among the participants were: Simply Cycle, Mazazik Dance, Newton Heath Youth Project, No Eyed Theatre, Chinese Centre, 3rd Dayhulme Scout Band, Parkhurst Trust, Colibri Mex Dance, Manchester Irish Festival, Venture Arts, Manchester School of Samba, Manchester Malayalee Association, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and the Indian Association, among others.
The Greater Manchester police closed the parade, however, the day was far from over. The festival continued across the city centre at the Cathedral Gardens, St. Ann’s Square and Exchange Square where entertainment, a wide range of food and opportunities for the public to participate were available.
Exchange Square was overflowing with music, including the participation of six bands, serving as a stage for a dancing contest and hosting “the magic circle,” an open stage opportunity for amateur magicians, which gathered young people and adults equally. The music never ceased thanks to presentations of Lantern Band, performing funk street music and well-known classic hits, as well as Egyptian dance followed shortly afterward and Brazilian Rhythms by Tucano among other groups and artists.
Not far away, St. Ann’s Square provided another high-quality music spectacle throughout the day with the participation of Ghanaians Union and Brainy Radio – A feast of West African dance and drumming, Modern Pakistani music by the British Pakistani Cultural Association and youth dancing by the Chameleon Youth among other acts. Face painting and a magic workshop also attracted attention, especially from the younger public.
Cathedral Gardens gathered perhaps the largest crowd, having a mini stage facing the green fields near the Football Museum where hundreds of people sat down to enjoy the sun and the various performances. Among them were the contemporary sounds by Babybeat and Irish music by Ruth Owens and Tara.
Magic, the central theme of the day, gave the public the opportunity to get involved themselves as performances throughout the day encourage everyone to take part.
The School of Samba, was also a distinctive and original addition to the days events, not only delighting spectators but giving them a taste of the best of Brazilian dance and music and inviting several members of the audience to join the dancers and try out the traditional Samba moves.
The day ended with a spectacular performance from Dr Diablo, who performed a nail-biting escapology show displaying Harry Houdini’s techniques.
Watch this space for more on Manchester Day from the Humanity Hallows filmmaking team.