A festive first is heading to Manchester this year with the announcement that Santa’s favourite city is to hold its first ever Christmas Parade. Filled with all the sights, sounds and sparkle that spell Christmas will weave its way through the streets of the city centre as part of the magical parade, to help bring some extra special Christmas cheer to the city.
Building on the success of the city’s world-famous Manchester Day Parade which after starting small for its first parade back in 2010 now regularly sees thousands of people flock to the city centre to watch it, the inaugural Manchester Christmas Parade will take place on Sunday 11th December from 1pm. Working in partnership with Manchester Business Improvement District (BID) and outdoor art experts including Walk the Plank, Global Grooves, Handmade Parade and others, the city’s first-ever Christmas Parade promises to delight both young and old audiences.
The magical parade will see more than 200 parade participants take to the streets and weave their way through the city centre in a magical parade filled with all the sights, sounds and sparkle of Christmas. Led by the big red man himself – Santa Claus – and a very festive version of our iconic Town Hall Clock, spectators can expect to see a parade filled with everyone’s favourite festive things.
Think Candy Cane stilt walkers, Runaway Presents, Christmas Elves, Dancing Snowmen, some cheeky Cocky Robins, a Giant Reindeer, an Arctic Fox, Snowy Owl, silvery spikey Jacks of Frost, and an enchanting giant Snow Globe – and suddenly it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And making sure it’s jingle bells all the way with live music, moves, and sounds will be the Bloco Band playing Santa’s favourite Christmas songs to get everyone in the festive mood, along with dancers dressed in their sparkly best Christmas kit.
Of course Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a Sugar Plum Fairy and a Toy Soldier or two, and one of the highlights of the Parade is sure to be the Christmas Toy Procession which will bring up the rear of the parade. Created by outdoor arts specialists Walk the Plank, as well as Sugar Plum Fairies and Toy Soldiers, the Toy Procession will also see a Fairy Mouse following the parade, squeaking its way around the streets, along with the biggest Christmas Crackers you’ve ever seen.
The Parade is set to last an hour and will set off at 1pm from Deansgate at the junction with Blackfriars Street on a circular route that will see it travel south along Deansgate, before turning left onto St Ann’s Street, then left onto Cross Street. It will then travel down Cross Street, past Boots and the Royal Exchange Theatre, before turning left onto Market Street, going past Marks and Spencer, and along St Mary’s Gate to Deansgate – finishing where it started.
Businesses based in the city centre have been working in partnership with the council throughout the festive season via Manchester BID to help make sure Christmas is magical in Manchester this year. This has included commissioning a series of six Festive Sundays, filled with sparkling street performances to delight and surprise families in the run-up to Christmas, as well as teaming up with the council on the Manchester Christmas Parade.
As an extra bonus following its starring role in the Manchester Christmas Parade, families will also be able to catch the Toy Procession with its magical Sugar Plum Fairies and Toy Soldiers later in the day this Sunday at 3pm and 4pm, and again on Sunday 18 December at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm, when it will be in and around Manchester Arndale, Market Street, and St Ann’s Square.