Manchester’s popular Chinese New Year celebrations proved to be a big hit again this year with more than 200,000 people turning out to enjoy the city’s festivities to see in the Year of the Pig.
The long weekend of celebrations organised by Manchester’s Business Improvement District, Manchester BID, FCAM (Federation of Chinese Associations of Manchester) and Manchester City Council brought in an additional 30,000 visitors compared to an average weekend in the city, with 80,000 (up 5% YoY) enjoying the legendary Dragon Parade and celebrations in Albert Square, Chinatown and the city’s retail district on Sunday.
Taking centre stage at this year’s celebrations was ‘Piglet’, a large-scale piglet sculpture created by UK-artist Alex Rinsler, which took up residence in St Ann’s Square. Gaining thousands of social media fans, Piglet proved to be a real draw for visitors, who were encouraged in the spirit of giving associated with Chinese New Year to donate to homelessness fund Big Change MCR and the Wai Yin Society, one of the largest BME community centres in the UK.
Celebrations in Albert Square were bigger than ever before extending across three days from Friday to Sunday for the first time, with visitors able to try their hand at Chinese arts & crafts, sample traditional Chinese cuisine from food and drink stalls, visit the funfair and enjoy the legendary Dragon Parade and firework display last night.
Thousands of red lanterns brightened the city’s streets, Exchange Square was home to a 50ft Golden Dragon while Manchester’s stores and restaurants got into the spirit of things hosting a variety of events, promotions and giveaways.
For the sixth consecutive year Manchester BID commissioned illustrator Stanley Chow to create the striking Year of the Pig artwork used across the marketing campaign for the celebrations.
Jane Sharrocks, General Manager of Selfridges Exchange Square and Chair of Manchester BID, said: “Manchester’s Chinese New Year celebrations have firmly established themselves as one of the biggest and best in Europe. Each year, together with FCAM and Manchester City Council, we try to bring something new and engaging to the event and this year’s Piglet sculpture certainly achieved that!
“Year on year we’re seeing more and more businesses, retailers and F&B operators across the city getting involved in the celebrations. And with record numbers of visitors last weekend, it really demonstrates the positive impact of collaboration when it comes to delivering successful city centre events.”
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s City Centre spokesperson, said: “Chinese New Year is always a wonderful spectacle. That image of a giant pig taking over St Ann’s Square is something that will stay with me for some time, and the Dragon Parade is a highlight every single year.
“The thousands of people who visited the city centre over the weekend, completely absorbed in the Chinese customs, produce and arts on offer, are a testament to the importance of the celebration.”