Bee in the City Weekender

The two-day family-friendly festival celebrates the opening weekend of summer public art trail ‘Bee in the City’

By Steven Pankhurst | Last updated 3 December 2018

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Celebrate the opening weekend of Bee in the City – the stunning public art trail of over 100 giant 3D Bee sculptures taking over Manchester city centre this summer – by heading to the official Bee in the City Weekender event on Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 July.

With a hive of activity planned by Manchester’s Business Improvement District, Manchester BID, including workshops, street performers, bee-inspired artisan markets, live music and much more, Manchester city centre is set to be buzzing with free activities throughout the weekend for all the family to enjoy, just as the schools break up for summer!

Kids will love roaming theatre piece and festival favourite, Pif-Paf Theatre Company’s ‘The Bee Cart’ where they can meet Bee Guides Bombus and Borage, delve into the world of bees and learn the pollen-packing and waggle dances.

Plus there’s lots of family fun to be had throughout the weekend, including storytelling at Manchester Arndale, workshops at Manchester Cathedral, craft activities, honey tasting and pot-painting and free tours of The Printworks rooftop garden, home to bees, beetle hotels and a wealth of plant and veg.

Adults can enjoy a cocktail and listen to summer sounds from the Weekender’s live music stage or head to the Bee Market showcasing the very best products from local artists and makers, including beeswax candles, honey, artwork and more, plus there’s a variety of workshops and free events courtesy of the city centre’s retailers.

Inspired by Manchester’s famous worker bee emblem, the Bee in the City trail will be displayed throughout the city for nine weeks from 23 July – 23 September, providing unmissable, free entertainment for everybody to enjoy.

Locate over 100 individually designed bees by downloading the Bee in the City app and navigate your way across the city centre taking in the city’s landmarks and undiscovered gems.

Each Bee has been designed by a different artist and celebrates the unique buzz of Manchester, from its industrial heritage to its vibrant music scene. A Wild in Art project in collaboration with Manchester City Council, Bee in the City will be one of the largest mass participation public art events ever held in the North West.

After the trail the bees will be auctioned to raise significant funds for The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s charity, We Love MCR Charity, to improve the lives and life chances of Manchester people.

Here are some of our favourite picks from the weekend’s festivities:

Pif-Paf Theatre Company’s The Bee Cart
Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 July

 Bee Guides Bombus and Borage are from a secret government organisation called The Human Union of Pollinators – preparing for the worst but hoping for the best with their mobile world of interaction, Bee wisdom and surreal fun. Delve into the world of Bees, learn the pollen-packing dance, the waggle dance and try out their Buzz Pollenator or their Flapper-Winger-Tronerators, meet a giant Varroa Mite, and maybe even get your nose pollinated.

The Adventures of Chester the Bee
Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 July

 The Adventures of Chester the Bee is a unique storytelling experience that will engage both children and adults alike.  Families will have the opportunity to join the Story Narrators as they are guided through the adventures of Chester and meet the characters he encounters along the way.  Afterwards, children can get creative in the make & take Busy Bee craft workshop.

 Meet the Beekeepers; Meet the Bees!
Saturday 28 July from 1 pm – 4 pm

Canon Adrian Rhodes and Amber Sanchez are on a mission. That mission is to bring bees to the city and to use the opportunity to help unemployed volunteers get back into employment. As part of ‘Volition’, they offer unemployed people an introduction to beekeeping which they can then build into their list of skills and abilities.

Amber and Adrian look after bees on Manchester Cathedral roof, on the roof of The Printworks and now at Salford Cathedral. Come and meet them, learn about bees and beekeeping – and about Volition. And through video links and a live ‘observation hive’ you will be able to see something of the beautiful life of honey bees.

The Printworks Manchester Rooftop Garden
Saturday 28 July

During the Weekender, The Printworks is offering free tickets to a tour of its award-winning rooftop garden hosting a variety of plants, vegetables, beetle hotels.. and of course bees! Learn all about the Honey Bee and what makes them so important to the world all while enjoying a view of the city most don’t get to see.

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Harvey Nichols Secret Garden Pop-Up Bar
Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 July

Harvey Nichols will be heading out onto New Cathedral Street with a prosecco bar, ice-cream bicycle and the Harvey Nichols Secret Garden Pop-up Bar which will be serving up cocktails in collaboration with Old Curiosity Distillery and luxury picnic boxes from 11am-6pm.

 Bee Market
Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 July

The Weekender’s Bee Market will be filled with an array of the very best artisan bee-inspired products. Pick up natural, locally produced bee products including candles, beeswax polish and honey from Fozz-Bees and limited edition beeswax candles from Booze, Burn and Bloom which takes recycled booze bottles and give them a new story by repurposing the glass and turning it into a scented candle.

For more information on the Bee in the City Weekender visit and follow @beeinthecitymcr.