Taking place across multiple locations on Sat 29 Jul, the 2023 edition of Manchester Day brings live performances, craft markets, carnivals, an ‘immersive zoo’ and the seaside itself to the City Centre with a brand new ‘Manchester Day on Holiday’ theme, promising a fun-filled celebration of civic pride to kick off the summer.

From 12-6pm on Deansgate, visitors can ride the Helter-Skelter and marvel at the Great Wheel, before breezing through passport control to watch an unmissable main stage lineup, including the Manchester International Roots Orchestra and the New Orleans-style Heavy Beats Brass Band. Throughout the day, Great Northern Warehouse hosts its own Manchester Day festivities at 235 Deansgate, with a sandcastle-building competition on the ‘beach’, lawn games, the Creatures of Cottonopolis Nature Trail and indoor play areas for children in the Little Northerners Space all afternoon.

Over on Exchange Street, kids of all ages can explore their creative side with a day of engaging educational activities and entertainment, including face-painting, tie-dyeing and seed-planting, while adults can head to Exchange Square for fresh-ground coffee, a long lunch from a variety of food vendors or a bright, refreshing cocktail in the tranquil surroundings of the Capri Beach Club, open from 11am-11pm.

From 12-6pm, New Cathedral Street transforms into an immersive ‘zoo’ experience starring several of Walk The Plank’s breathtaking giant puppets including a sleepy lion, a gluttonous orangutan and a bike-riding monkey, while around the corner at St. Mary’s Gate, Mancunians can enjoy an afternoon of global grooves with ‘Dance Dance Dance’. Featuring every style from West African and bhangra to Lithuanian folk movements and Vogueing, professionals from around the world showcase their native movements, before opening the floor for younger visitors to show off their practiced TikTok synchronicity.

Down in St. Ann’s Square, Manchester Day’s Party in the Park encourages guests to open a deckchair, unpack a picnic and enjoy an afternoon of opera classics, an Indian brass band, Dr Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band’s jazz piano and early-evening samba dancing, while a selection of indie food traders fuel the fun until 9pm.

In collaboration with British Cycling and Manchester Active, Manchester City Council invites budding cyclists of all abilities to have a go on state-of-the-art balance and standard bikes in the Manchester Day ‘Pedal Party’, taking place from 12-4pm in St. Peter’s Square. Prodigious mechanics can take part in bike repairs, while future Tour de France winners can test the city’s brand new e-cargo bikes.

Taking place from 8am-9pm in Cathedral Gardens, the ‘Firefighter Challenge’ gathers 250 of the nation’s finest firefighters to compete in a mercilessly gruelling gauntlet to discover the fittest of them all. The competitors face a variety of challenging simulated operational firefighting situations, including the Crofton Stair Ascent, Angus Fire Hose Drag and Container Carry, all while wearing their full firefighting kit. Meanwhile, those in attendance can enjoy sumptuous food, live music and even a mini-firefighting course for the next generation.

As the family-oriented Manchester Day fun draws to a close around the city, the Northern Quarter unsurprisingly takes the wheel for nocturnal entertainment. From 7pm, the futuristic funk of Global Grooves transforms the NQ into an all-out carnival, as ethereal ‘dancing robot queen’ IOLA 2.0 floods the streets with neon.

Councillor Pat Karney, Chair of Manchester Day, said:
“This year’s Manchester Day on Holiday promises to be the highlight of the city’s jam-packed summer schedule.

“The Council and Walk the Plank have been working hard to ensure that this year’s Manchester Day on Holiday will be the best outing to date and it will be. Where else can you enjoy an immersive zoo, a seaside, live performances, a craft market all in one place!”

For more information and the full Manchester Day schedule, click here.

Check out the Manchester Day 2023 locations map below.

Sat 29 Jul, 8am,
Manchester City Centre
, 11pm
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Thu 27 Jul 2023