Stockport experienced its busiest Sunday in four years last Sunday with thousands of families braving the wet weather to enjoy Stockport’s Spectacular Sunday.
The event, which marked the start of the festive season and celebrated Stockport’s Town of Culture status, saw visitor numbers double compared to average Sunday footfall in the town.
According to figures released today by event organisers, Stockport Council, Totally Stockport BID and Merseyway Shopping Centre, the one-day event saw an increase in footfall of 56% across the town, making it the town’s busiest Sunday on record since 2019. The day also saw an increase in footfall of 73% at Merseyway compared to the previous Sunday, attracting the local community alongside new visitors to the town ready to shop, eat and celebrate the start of the festive season.
Not allowing the rain to dampen Christmas spirits, the celebrations brought enchanting festivities to Stockport’s shopping streets, including a huge line-up of over 60 breath-taking shows featuring 220 artists alongside roaming acts, carnival fun, live music, and festive food stalls – capturing the imaginations of youngsters whilst bringing extraordinary entertainment to families on a scale not seen before across the town.
Produced by carnival arts organisation, Global Grooves, visitors were amazed and entertained by a variety of charming performers at various locations across the town centre, including Merseyway Shopping Centre, Market Place and The Underbanks. Giant roaming puppets made their way through the streets, whilst New Orleans marching band, Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, 30-strong carnival drumming band, Katumba and Santa’s street band, Red Hot Santas filled the air with live music. Visitors were also in fits of laughter with boom box, comedy duo Granny Turismo, the flirtatious Christmas Comedy Waiters, and hilarious servers The Bicycle Bistros to name a few.
Cllr Frankie Singleton, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Sport at Stockport Council, said: “The Sunday Spectacular really lived up to its name! it was a truly magical day that attracted so many visitors who were enthralled by the variety of performances across the town centre. Our Town of Culture status has allowed us to put on events on a scale never seen before, with so much more to come over the next few months. Thank you to everyone who braved the rain to support us and helped to make this such a magical day.”
Stuart Broadbelt, Director of Totally Stockport, said: “Despite the rain, we were delighted that Stockport’s first Spectacular Sunday enticed huge numbers into the town centre to kick off the festive season in spectacular style. Never have we seen so many amazing acts entertaining visitors of all ages, on one day, in one place! It was truly magical – over 60 shows with performances from over 200 artists provided an immense FREE day out – and a fantastic start to Christmas.”
“By working in partnership with Stockport Council and with Merseyway, we were able to animate the town centre with a magical array of roaming street theatre, breath-taking shows, carnival fun, amazing acts, live music, and food. In what has been a difficult time for so many of us, it’s brilliant to have attracted so many people into Stockport and to have been able to support out town centre retailers at such a critical trading time. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved.”
Victoria Nichol, Centre Manager at Merseyway Shopping Centre said “What a town! Seeing so many people come into the shopping centre despite the terrible weather really shows how unique the community in Stockport really is. Here at Merseyway, our footfall more than doubled. Not only did this one-day event bring incredible entertainment to visitors, but it also increased dwell time, resulting in many of our stores reporting significant hikes in both sales and footfall.”
The one-day event was created as part of a programme of events, bringing a year of culture to everyone in the town as Stockport celebrates being named Greater Manchester’s latest Town of Culture for 2023. For more information on Town of Culture, visit the website.