That's a big starting statement I understand but I have to say based on key elements listed below Manchester scored top marks on all:
- Parade length (not too long or too short)
- Atmosphere - happy, upbeat, friendly, party-like
- Accessibility - easy to get to, park and find a viewing point
- Giveaways - freebies (bracelets, flags, Nando's vouchers - you know anything really)
- Celeb spotting
Add to this that we had Bisbee and her puppy bf Otis and his owners Sam & Sara with us and it led to a great day.
We arrived in Manchester at 11.30 and found a car parking space easily - a huge relief! We then strolled in the direction of the parade and somehow ended up coming across the area where all the floats were setting up. What was even better was that in the centre of all the chaos was a pub serving sausage and bacon baps, a perfect place for us to sit, relax and get our breakfast before the parade started.
|With my love and Bisbee with her......love????|
Other than queuing for the loo with bees, fairies, cupcakes and a whole lot of other dressed up people the morning was fairly subdued. As it approached 12.30 we left our hideout and heading for the parade route and managed to get a perfect viewing position. Close enough to the start that all the participants were excited but far enough in that we had space to move and the puppies had space to roam.
As the parade got into full flow Otis was spooked by the loud drums and the girls had to take him home - sad times although thankfully plenty of hugs had him back on form later in the day. Bisbee on the other hand courted the attention and as with Brighton Pride had to out in front.
The music never stopped, which we loved, and the parade was a good mix of local charities and corporate brands. We appreciated the sweets from Tesco, the rainbow bracelets from Wickes and a lot of other brands, the free 1/2 a chicken vouchers from Nando's (still love Nando's) and the tail from O2 came in handy when entertaining Bisbee.
The parade itself was almost an hour and a half long but for us the highlights were:
1) Sharon Needles appearing on the RuPaul float - Laura is a HUGE fan
2) Sir Ian McKellan jumping out his car to meet people
3) Any float with bubbles as Bisbee loved chasing them
4) The Coronation Street float with Shayne Ward (combining two loves of my Mum in one photo
opp), Kym Marsh and other cast members.
5) The free sunglasses that were given out - Pride seems to save us buying any sunglasses!
Once the parade had passed we were able to get back to the car park and head off on our road trip without too much hassle although we had to figure out how to get out of the one way system they were enforcing. But not before this happened:
We have both said that we would love to the whole Manchester Pride weekend at some point, certainly the friendliness of the people made us sad to leave. We will be back - hopefully next year!