Happy birthday Zippy! Manchester’s giant Santa celebrates 10 years in Albert Square


It’s nearly that time of year again when Manchester city centre is transformed into a festive haven full of Christmassy delights.

As well as the famous Christmas markets and the bright lights that will decorate our streets and buildings, this can only mean one thing – the return of the Manchester’s biggest festive mascot.

He is set to be hoisted onto his platform overlooking Albert Square on 1st November in preparation for the big switch-on on Saturday 4th November, when thousands will flock to Albert Square to celebrate with live music from DJ Sigala, Pixie Lott and Yes Lad.

Pic Mark Waugh

But Manchester’s very own giant Santa won’t just be residing over the festive celebrations this year. He’ll also be celebrating his 10th birthday. Last year, he underwent a refurb of all 100,000 of his low energy LED lights in preparation for the big milestone.

Manchester Town Hall clock tower has a long tradition of housing a giant Father Christmas.

The first oversized Santa was a blow-up version that went up in the mid 1980s before he was replaced by another cheerful St Nick in the early 90s.

The latest six-tonne version has taken pride of place since 2007. Fondly known as Zippy due to his resemblance to the character from Rainbow, he was built in France by Blachere Illumination before being relocated to his new home in the centre of Manchester.

Keep up to date with all the city’s festive happenings by following Santa on his very own twitter account @MCRSanta. As well as giving updates on Christmas events, the account will also be taking on the role of VIP judge at a variety of competitions.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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