It’s all happening at Festa this weekend…
Manchester is in for a treat this bank holiday weekend with the return of the UK’s biggest Italian food festival.
Described as ‘the country’s most exciting and vibrant festival of Italian food, drink and culture’, Festa Italiana is a unique celebration of the very best of Italian culture, and will once again be gracing Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens for the August bank holiday weekend.
The festival found life five years ago by the family-run Italian restaurant group Salvi’s, and was quick to grow in popularity, with over 38,000 people visiting during last year’s event alone.
And this weekend, a number of the festival’s most popular faces will be returning alongside some exciting new additions.
Here’s what’s on the line-up….
Festa Italiana
To kick start the festivities on Friday August 26th, there will be a cooking masterclass from Festa founder Maurizio Cecco and his daughter Sienna at 1:30pm, while the team from I Sapori di Corbara Tomatoes will be flying in from Naples for a talk on their brand and products at 2:30pm.
At 3:30pm, Giulia Martinelli of The Pasta Factory will be showcasing her best pasta-making techniquies and, at 4.30pm, the Luxardo Maraschino team will guide guests through the versatility of their cherries in desserts and drinks. And to round up the day at 5.30pm, there will be a Campari cocktail masterclass.
The following day on Saturday August 27th, there will be a Pasta Masterclass from Maurizio Cecco at 1:30pm, followed by masterclasses and book signings from Gennaro Contaldo, UK brand ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano at 2:30pm. Then, there will be a meet-and-greet with celebrity chef Aldo Zilli at 3:30pm, and at 4:30pm, the Aperol team will be talking you through the methods behind some of the most loved Italian drinks.
Sunday 28th August will see masterclasses and book signings from Giancarlo Caldesi at 1:30pm, while Gennaro Contaldo will be back at 2:30pm. Great British Bake Off 2021 winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno will be looking after things at 3:30pm and at 4:30pm, there will be a very special pizza making masterclass by the team from Pizzeria Da Michele.
Festa Italiana
Carmela Sereno Hayes will also be hosting ‘Carmela’s Kitchen’ across the entire weekend, with free drop-in sessions teaching pasta loving adults and kids alike how to make the perfect – and most beautiful – pasta.
On Saturday 27th August, there will be an intimate chefs’ table dinner featuring top class Italian celebrity chefs, Gennaro ContaldoGiancarlo Caldesi and Aldo Zilli, hosted and cooked by Maurizio Cecco, with fresh pasta made from scratch by Carmela Serano Hayes (Carmela’s Kitchen).
Guests will dine with the legendary Italian restaurateurs and will be able to engage in conversations about Italian food, drink and culture throughout the feast.
The evening will be toasted with a Gin Mare drinks reception, and Italian wine will flow throughout the delectable four course meal, with all drinks for the evening included in the ticket price.
Get tickets for the Festa Feast here.
Festa Italiana
It wouldn’t be an Italian festival without good food, would it?
Over the course of the weekend, returning Festa favourites Café Cannoli will be selling delicious cannoli made using authentic ingredients imported directly from Sicily, local lads Paul and Mike from I Knead Pizza will be bringing their wood fired oven along to serve up their highly acclaimed Neopolitan pizza, while Lucky Mama’s will be serving extruded pasta with fresh homemade sauces.
Proove will also be joining the line-up with their authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza, T’arricrii will bring the essence of Sicily to Cathedral Gardens with their mouth-watering arancini and Fritto Misto, while Manchester’s very own Pasta Factory will be serving up a menu of simple, authentically Italian fresh pasta.
Café Azul will be serving up Kickback Coffee, hot and cold drinks, snacks, cakes and grilled paninis all weekend long, while Destination Doughnut will be dishing out delightful doughnuts described as: light, airy and the perfect balance of sweetness.
Festa Italiana
Also on the bill, the driving force behind Festa Italiana, family run Salvi’s will be selling sweet treats and branded Salvi’s delights from their Deli.
Festa Italiana’s famous Festival Bar will be making its grand return, and will showcase incredible signature serves across the weekend, including the perfect serve Gin Mare Capri and Gin Mare. Birrificio Angelo Poretti will also be bringing its craft Italian beers served from its Airstream Bar.
The Aperol Spritz Bar will be doing exactly what it says on the tin by serving up everyone’s favourite Italian summer refresher while the Main Festival Bar will be bringing you all of the Italian classics including Gin Mare, Gin Mare Capri, Luxardo, Aperol Spritz, Italian craft beers, Ponte Prosecco, the very best Italian wine and soft drinks.
Let’s Grow Allotment – brought by Ben Faulks, the co-creator and presenter of the award winning CBeebies brand Mr. Bloom’s Nursery – delivers a truly unique experience by combining the core themes of Mr Bloom’s Nursery with the shows of Ben’s theatre company ‘Plunge Bloom’.
Championing nature, nurture, wellbeing, and imaginative play, with a deftness of touch that leaves an indelible impression upon audiences of all ages.
Festa Italiana
There will also be the a pop-up allotment by Let’s Grow Nannies, which will offer parents a mix of gardening and childcare. The show takes place in a charming pop-up allotment which serves as an interactive play space hosted by two Let’s Grow Nannies with their family of baby fruits and vegetables.
The Let’s Grow Allotment show runs at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm each day across the weekend.
Music and Festa Italiana go hand-in-hand and, this year, Compagnia Sole Luna will be flying over from Naples to bring the city’s traditional folk music to Manchester. There will also be a full line up of local artists and bands including the city’s best loved opera singer The Manchester Tenor, while DJs will be spinning records each night.
Festa Italiana will take place at Cathedral Gardens from Friday August 26th to Sunday August 28th, 12pm – 11pm every day. 
Find out more here.

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Live From The Grill will welcome some of the region’s most celebrated kitchens for a weekend of quality food, drink and entertainment
The Great British Summer Time isn’t going anywhere in Manchester this month thanks to the arrival of a weekend-long barbecue festival.
From Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th September, Deansgate Square will host some of the region’s best-loved culinary masters as part of Live From The Grill, a Manchester’s Finest event.
Across the free event, each kitchen will be showcasing their own unique barbecue dishes inspired from far-flung locations across the globe.
Confirmed on the line up is Spanish wood fired grill specialists Rescoldo, who will be cooking up the likes of Wagyu Rump, Butterfly Prawn Baos, Full Seabass and Chicken Yakitori on their open flame grills.


Joining them is National Burger Award finalists That Burger Place, The Green Lab with its take on a Bao-BQ, and Kitten, who will be serving its exquisite Japanese Robata BBQ Grill.
The city’s celebrated Italian haunt Salvi’s will also be in attendance across the weekend, off the back of the overwhelming success of its Festa Italiana last month.
Salvi’s will be cooking up an array of dishes on its own Italian Grigliata, though the real star of the show will be its Scamorza cheese, a traditional Southern Italian street dish that is smoked, melted, drizzled in honey and served hot off the grill.
On the drinks front, there will be a pop-up Aperol Spritz bar where guests can choose from a menu of wine, prosecco, draught beer, Pimms and house cocktails, as well as a range of non-alcoholic options.

Deansgate Square

Deansgate Square
Also scheduled across the weekend is a line up of live music courtesy of artists such as Yung Omz of Mason Collective, Tone Rarri, ShadeV and Brink.
Other artists on the lineup include CEEOW, jazz ensemble The Greenskeepers Band, multi-instrumentalist Seigfried Komidashi, underground RNB band The Beautiful Sinners, and DJ Lenny.
Live From The Grill will be taking place on Saturday September 17th and Sunday September 18th from 12pm – 7pm, and tickets are completely FREE.
This isn’t one to miss – get your free tickets here.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now…
Manchester is set to host a brand new comedy festival with a line up of some of the UK’s most celebrated comedians later this month.
Laughterama will be taking over Castlefield Bowl for five nights from September 21st with a line up of multi-act shows, as well as the very best from Manchester’s street-food and drink scene.
Each show scheduled across the festival presents a compilation of the biggest names in stand-up alongside the brightest new talents, guaranteeing comedy fans  a seriously good time in the heart of the city.
The line-up includes James Acaster, the legendary Dylan Moran, British Comedy Award winner Aisling Bea, Taskmaster’s Phil Wang, observational master Josh Widdicombe, the Last Leg’s Rosie Jones, and the inimitable Daniel Kitson, plus many more.


Other acts include Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Rose Matafeo, one-liner king Milton Jones, lo-fi hero David O’Doherty, the Mash Report’s Nish Kumar, and homegrown Manchester talent including Stephen Bailey and Josh Jones.
Laughterama comes courtesy of siblings Will Briggs and Cass Randolph, the brains behind a string of successful comedy festivals that run annually across London and the south.
While the pair have spent the last fifteen years delivering their signature blend of comedy programming in boutique-festival settings to sell-out crowds exclusively in the south, they are now looking forward to making their northern debut in Manchester.
Will said: “We’ve been dreaming of bringing this festival to Manchester for a long time now, the city should absolutely have a stand-out event showcasing the wealth of comedy talent around at the moment.


“Many of our acts have their own TV or podcast series, but nothing beats live, and we can’t wait to put these acts in front of a Manchester crowd. We already know the shows are going to be electric!”
This year’s event is partnered with Heycar, whose Chief Commercial Officer Karen Hilton said: “With this year’s inaugural Laughterama in Castlefield Bowl, it’s shaping up to be an incredible, feel-good summer. We have so much laughter to catch up on after the last few years and I can’t think of a better way to do it.”
“Heycar is honoured to be sponsoring this incredible event and we can’t wait to see everyone in Manchester this September.”
The Laughterama Comedy Festival will take place at Castlefield Bowl from September 21st – September 25th 2022, and tickets are on sale NOW.
Get your tickets here.

There will also be traditional Chinese lion dancing, street kung fu lessons, and archery sessions across the weekend…
Manchester’s Chinatown is set to host a FREE three-day-long ancient moon festival to commemorate the national Chinese tradition.
After a three-year break, the Manchester Moon Festival will be coming back to Manchester to bring the cultural atmosphere of the traditional celebration to the city.
The ancient moon festival – sometimes known as the mid-autumn festival – is held on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar with a full moon at night, and has been celebrated in China for over 3,000 years.
According to Chinese legend, the Moon Festival relates to the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese Moon goddess of immortality.

Manchester Moon Festival

Manchester Moon Festival
In one legendary tale, Chang’e flew upward past Heaven and chose the moon as her residence, meaning that Chinese people use the Moon festival to respect and make offerings to the goddess.
The festival traditionally brings together families and communities to give thanks and pray with quality food, drink and an array of celebrations and festivities.
And next week, Mancunians will be able to immerse themselves within these historic traditions thanks to the return of the Manchester Moon Festival.
From Friday September 9th – Sunday September 11th, local businesses will be dishing up some incredible Chinese street food in Chinatown’s central car park, including Wang Wang BakeryPinWeiChatime Manchester, and many others.

Manchester Moon Festival

Manchester Moon Festival
Alongside the delicious selection of Chinese cuisine, visitors will also be able to join in with traditional Chinese lion dancing, street kung fu lessons, and archery at its archery game stall.
A mystery Chinese legend is also expected to make an appearance at the festival, so make sure to stay posted for further announcements from the organisers.
The Manchester Moon Festival will be open from 2pm – 9pm on Friday September 9th, and from 12pm – 9pm on Saturday and Sunday, September 10th and 11th.
The festival is completely free to enter – for more information, visit the official Manchester Moon Festival website.

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