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The UK’s biggest Italian food festival is returning to Manchester this summer

Festa Italiana is back!

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Festa Italiana

The UK’s largest Italian food festival is set to return to Manchester this summer.

Described as ‘the country’s most exciting and vibrant festival of Italian food, drink and culture’, Festa Italiana is a unique celebration of all things Italy.

Festa, which was initially born out of Manchester’s Italian community four years ago, is back with a bang after a COVID-19 break last year with workshops, demonstrations, book signings and some of Italy’s finest cuisine courtesy of celebrated Italian chefs such as Aldo Zilli, Giancarlo Caldesi, Gennaro Contaldo and, Festa founder, Salvi’s owner Maurizio Cecco.

Festa Italiana

Maurizio’s twelve-year-old daughter, Sienna Cecco, who is also a talented chef  in her own right, will be joining the party and leading free kids cooking classes throughout the three day long festival.

Carmela Sereno Hayes, the hugely popular pastaia (specialist pasta maker) and author, will also be making a return to Festa Italiana and running her much talked about pasta workshops all weekend long.

And as for the beverages front?

Festa Italiana

Well, it wouldn’t be a weekend dedicated to Italian cuisine without some authentic Italian booze, would it?

A number of the big labels will be on hand to keep your thirst quenched throughout the weekend such as Peroni, who will not only be serving pints of their famed lager, but will be popping up their portable cinema, too. 

Complete with bean bags, deck chairs, popcorn, aperitivo boxes, Peroni (obviously) and themed classic movie screenings of Cinema Paradiso, Romeo and Juliet and La Dolce Vita, the popular lager will have you covered. 

Festa Italiana

There will also be a space and activities over the weekend to keep children entertained while their parents feast upon pasta, pizza and Aperol… so, families, worry not.

The festival has been confirmed to take place at Cathedral Gardens on the August bank holiday weekend, Friday 27th to Sunday 29th.

For more information, you can visit the Festa Italiana website here.

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A RuPaul’s Drag Race UK premiere party with bottomless fizz is coming to Manchester next week

Sashay away…

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BBC & @alexandernaglestad / Unsplash

Engines at the ready, drag racers; there’s a massive bottomless RuPaul’s Drag Race UK premiere event coming to a cinema here in Manchester.

As fans of the hit drag show will know, the highly anticipated third season of the UK version is landing on BBC iPlayer next week and to celebrate appropriately, GRUB Manchester is throwing the mother of all launch parties.

On Thursday, September 23rd, you and your friends will be able to watch the first episode of the new season alongside an abundance of bottomless bevs and delicious street food.

BBC

Costing £20pp, tickets also include a selection of fun additions to enjoy throughout the evening, including a welcome cocktail, ninety minutes of bottomless fizz, draught beer or wine, and a private table to enjoy with friends, positioned for prime viewing on the night.

Indoor and covered seating in the event of rain (which, let’s face it, is looking very likely this month) is also available, as is a number of independent and local food vendors dishing up tasty food and extra drinks.

Though it is worth noting that this event isn’t an official RuPaul viewing event, it is just a bit of fun for Drag Race fans and their friends.

@grubmcr / Instagram

Tables can be reserved from 5:30pm onwards, and the bottomless drinks deal begins an hour later at 6:30pm. RuPaul’s Drag Race will be shown at 7pm.

Get your own tickets here.

BBC Three is yet to confirm which famous faces will be appearing on the judging panel. As for the regular judging panel,  Michelle Visage will be back, as will Graham Norton and Alan Carr, alternating each week as they have done for the past two series.

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Spice Girls are ‘hoping to do another tour’ in 2023 according to Mel B

Good news for Spice Girls fans

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Marvelousmollie / Wikimedia

There’s good news for Spice Girls fans as the group are looking to do another tour in a couple of years time, according to Mel B.

The singer said she plans to ‘make sure’ that the tour happens, with 2023 looking like the potential date for it.

The iconic ‘90s girl group reunited back in 2019 for a huge tour of the UK and Ireland – including several sold-out gigs here in Manchester – although they were without former bandmate Posh Spice, aka Victoria Beckham.

Mel B revealed the good news as she hosted Steph’s Packed Lunch last week, adding that the Spice Girls were in talks to do another tour last year before the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to it.

@spicegirls / Instagram

According to Mel B: “We did our last tour and Victoria respectfully ducked out, and you have to respect when someone doesn’t want to go on tour.”

The singer added: “I’m always pushing to have a Spice Girls reunion and we were in talks last year but then Covid hit so it pushed everyone’s plans.

“I think we’re hopefully on the same page together.

“They’re going to kill me for saying this. We’re hoping, especially me – if it has anything to do with me, which it will have because I’m the driving force and will make sure it happens – to tour in 2023.”

The previous tour back in 2019 went down a storm with fans, with three dates at Man City’s Etihad Stadium selling out.

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A huge spooky ice rink with ‘ghoulish skating monsters’ is coming to Manchester for Halloween

Skate Manchester is back!

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As the city’s Halloween preparations get underway, Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens is getting ready to host a massive ice skating rink with a spooky twist.

The rink, which is a regular fixture here in Manchester in the months running up to Christmas, will be hosting a special Halloween event, Scare Skate, which will see families and friends take to the ice in true Halloween style.

Scare Skate will feature Halloween-themed music and lighting, along with a band of ghoulish skating monsters who will join skaters on the ice every hour. 

The event is perfect for those wanting to retire their fancy dress costumes for the year, with the official description reading: “Not hunting monsters and would rather leave the fancy dress to others? No problem! As you glide along our spectacular covered ice rink, you will be sheltered from the elements whilst soaking in the spooky atmosphere.”

And, even more excitingly, this year’s venue will be nearly double the size of previous years, meaning more room for skating, fun, and memory-making.

Rob Derry, ice director at Arena, which coordinates the event, said on the plans: “There’s a real buzz around Halloween in Manchester. The city is a major destination for anyone looking to get into the spooky spirit thanks to Monsters in the City, an amazing spectacle that brings larger than life fun and fear.

“Scare Skate offers something brand new: an exciting, active, and creative activity, in a breath-taking setting, that brings chills and thrills for families, friends and colleagues looking to celebrate the season. We’re hoping to see as many people in fancy dress as possible.”

Skate Manchester

He added: “We’ve pulled out all the stops to provide a bigger rink for our customers so they can enjoy more room to skate. The ice rink will be nearly double the size of previous years so there will also be more room to pull off showstopping moves … Or stumble towards a barrier for balance! We think this will be our best year yet.”

Scare Skate will be taking place from October 22nd-31st, where it will then be transformed into its original form Skate Manchester from November 1st – January 3rd. It will be open daily, excluding Christmas Day.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.skatemanchester.com

 

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