Vuvuzelas at the ready! Neil McQuillian prepares for a new parade in Manchester
You may be wary. You may have had a few tricks played on you by seemingly well-meaning people (remember that time your Dad sent you to B&Q for a left-handed hammer?). And you may think that any sort of event organised by a company calling itself Walk The Plank is just taking the….well, you know. But it appears that this Sunday’s Manchester Day Parade is the real deal – and organisers Walk The Plank intend to blaze such a trail with it they hope it will become a permanent fixture on the civic calendar.
With the production of events such as the closing ceremony of the Manchester Commonwealth Games under their belt, Walk The Plank could not be more qualified to make this maiden voyage a success. Around 1,750 people have signed up to take part in the parade, which will follow a route that loops from Castlefield, up Deansgate and back again via the Town Hall and Peter Street. With some 80 groups involved, you can expect to see Girl Guides and Galactic Knights, Bourbon Street Roof Raisers and Lightning Cheerleaders, as well as an illuminating meeting of minds should the Mandarin Sunday School happen to bump into the Prairie Dogs Line Dance Club along the way.
A parade is not a parade without floats, although Tor Emms of Walk The Plank prefers to call them ‘amazing wheeled structures’. One that she is especially looking forward to seeing strutting its stuff is ‘the peacock, with a thousand hand-tied feathers’. Other highlights will include a mobile allotment sprouting giant veg., and mysterious appearances by the Manchester Ship Canal whale, Mr Rolls and Mr Royce, and the Spirit of Manchester herself (bet you wouldn’t want to meet her on a dark night).
Tor acknowledges that there are similar events held in Manchester, such as the parades tied to the Caribbean Carnival, Irish Festival and Manchester Pride, but none of these, she believes, are as all-inclusive as the Manchester Day Parade. Of more concern for the turnout must be that a certain football tournament is currently taking place. This year’s World Cup, however, is boring everyone to tears (while the vuvuzelas simply bore into their skulls). As Tor says, both the Parade and the World Cup are ‘about having pride in where you’re from’ but, let’s face it, only one of them has the Wythenshawe Wheelers on their bill.
Manchester Day Parade, starts Castlefield, Sunday 20 June 2pm. Free. Neil McQuillian writes on food, travel and culture. His short story Old Man In A Tracky appeared in Comma Press’ Brace: A New Generation in Short Fiction.
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