This weekend marks the fifth Manchester Picnic. The annual event will run until Sunday and promises to be a fun filled family affair. We popped down today for the launch and to sample some of the food on offer.
Organised by the Piccadilly Partnership and CityCo, The Manchester Picnic has become a firm highlight of the city centre summer calendar. This year’s theme is ‘Play’ to celebrate the recent opening of the new children’s playground near the Queen Victoria statue in Piccadilly Gardens.
With a smaller and more intimate plot this year thanks to the big wheel taking its previous plot, the event has enlisted several local food producers to set up camp in Piccadilly Gardens. We tucked into the Cow Boys succulent American Cheese Burger, which is served pink to retain the juices and flavour.
We then sampled Al’s BBQ Hot Dog with Caramelised Onions, which went down a treat! We also tried Matilda’s Ploughman’s Lunch which was served inside a hollowed out loaf! The presentation was amazing, as were the flavours! Needless to say we were shocked to find out that Matilda is the youngest stall holder at just fifteen years old! She also makes lovely and refreshing coolers and smoothies.
Fish&, who are popular for setting up Street Food fairs in Leeds, will also be pitched up for the weekend with their speciality batter. Those around us sampled the Lemon and Chilli battered Cod as well as the Cracked Black Pepper and Sea Salt and by the sounds they made, they definitely enjoyed the unusual flavours.
And for pudding, there are three fabulous stalls to choose from! Gingers Comfort Emporium are there for the weekend, with their vintage ice cream van taking pride of place on Saturday, while LulaBelles tea and cake stand sits on the corner of Piccadilly Gardens with its iconic baby pink VW Campervan! We tried their Mississippi Chocolate Cake which sent us into chocolate over drive! We then topped it off with some delicious and crispy hot churros from Choccy Churros, which is accompanied by a hot chocolate sauce!
There is also some great entertainment taking place across the weekend. Vintage 78 DJs sent the crowds back in time with their collection of records played on original 1930s gramophones!
On Saturday, (which promises to be the best day for the weather!) Jazz, Folk and Acoustic sets will take the stage, with accordion player Helen Mayer starting the show at 12pm. Musicians Papa Guns take centre stage from 2-3pm, with As You like it on the ukelele taking over from 3.30- 5pm. Last but not least, singer Riognach Connelly will perform alongside guitarist Ellis Ber from 5pm until 7pm.
And on Sunday, there is a host of family friendly activity taking place throughout the day, before the kids head back to school. Starting a 12pm, Baby Ballet will alternate with The Roald Dahl Museum and Storytelling Centre, finishing at 5pm, who will be telling stories from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts; audience participation an absolute must!
The Manchester Picnic is a great way to finish off the school holidays and the whole event is an alcohol free zone, making it the perfect family day out.
By Emily Parker
Full List of Food Stalls;
Al’s BBQ Shack
Fire and Salt BBQ
Fire and Slice Pizza
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium
Martins Craft Bakery