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BlogCity to be transformed into 'biggest playground ever' for Manchester Day 2024

City to be transformed into ‘biggest playground ever’ for Manchester Day 2024

The city centre is set to be transformed – on Saturday, July – into Manchester’s biggest ever playground for Manchester Day.

Inspired by an international summer of sport the city’s streets and squares will be filled with music, dancing and have-a-go activities designed to bring out the inner athlete in visitors young and old, as well as astounding acrobatics, and pop-up performances in the most unlikely of places.

Manchester City Council is working with outdoor arts specialists Walk the Plank on a medal-winning programme for the day that promises something for all ages and all sporting abilities – from the fastest kid off the block to the slowest – with events including what is set to be possibly the world’s slowest race as a pair of giant snails spend the best part of the day jockeying for first place in a race that definitely won’t be over in the blink of an eye.

With a Hip-Hop wrestling ring for breakdancing, wrestling, a spot of opera and a dash of drag, along with a vintage fairground to try the always competitive hook-a-duck challenge or a round of darts, and an actual reality arcade filled with larger-than-life console games to get fully immersed in, there’s sure to be something for even the most reluctant of athletes to enjoy.

Award-winning dance company Motionhouse will entertain with their hit outdoor show Wild, that will see performers fly through the city on a forest of poles in a daring dance-circus production using careful choreography and acrobatic movement, whilst performers from No Fit State Circus will be defying the laws of gravity as they bend, flex and build a towering series of bamboo structures as part of a mind-blowing performance that relies solely on human strength, trust, and harmony with nature.

And of course, it wouldn’t be Manchester Day without the music – be transported to Copacabana beach by the sounds of Jubacana, a youth-led, fusion and dance project that combines percussion, guitars and a whole lotta sequins to create a big sound and an even bigger show.  Enjoy the freshest of beats from DJs across the city, the Bridgewater Hall Choir, or a whistle stop tour around the world with the Global Grooves procession, before a show-stopping finale featuring one of the UK’s finest live soul bands, the Detroit Soul Collective.

In a Manchester Day special for this year and to mark what is set to be a sizzling summer of international sport, the city has also partnered with some of the UK’s leading sports bodies to bring a whole sports-day worth of taster sessions in all kinds of different sports and fitness activities.

Want to impress your mates and break a board with your hands? British Taekwondo will show you how to, with safety and with style. They’ll also teach you the basics of taekwondo, self-defence and give you all the information you need about joining your local club.  Or get your blood pumping at the 60m, pop-up athletic track supplied by GLL who will also be hosting a series of fun challenges for all the family, including a tennis mini rally and a basketball shoot out.

Like a bit of cricket? Dive into the fast and furious world of The Hundred, a turbo charged version of traditional test cricket. Try batting, bowling and catching in a special area, meet players from Manchester Originals and be in with the chance of winning prizes.

Maybe netball is more your thing? Shoot hoops and score goals with the team from England Netball. Whether you’re a complete beginner, returning to the sport or are a regular player looking to improve your game, they’ll also help you find a local club to suit your level and keep on playing.

Wannabe footballers won’t want to miss the Manchester United Foundation’s Panna Cage in partnership with Manchester FA, where you can take on the target goals challenge, brush up on your technical skills with professional coaches, or even take part in a small-sided game.


Helen Greaney
Helen Greaney
I'm a journalist with more than 18 years' experience on local, regional and national newspapers, as well as PR and digital marketing. Crime and the courts is my specialist area but I'm also keen to hear your stories concerning Manchester and the greater North West region.
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