Black Pudding Throwing & Other Weird Events in Greater Manchester 2018

Here’s to a Weird and Wonderful 2018 in Greater Manchester


As 2017 draws to a close, we can all reflect on the year we’ve had. What will you remember from the last 365 days? Good or bad, there’s a brand spanking new year just around the corner waiting to be enjoyed.

Make sure that 2018 is a memorable year by filling it with once in a lifetime events - the stranger the better! You’ll no doubt be unsurprised to hear that Greater Manchester is home to many interesting activities, as interesting and unique as the people who live here. So grab a System One travelcard, climb aboard a bus, tram or train and jump into one (or more) of the weird, wonderful and, quite frankly bizarre, events on offer in the region throughout the coming year.

With over 300 bus routes around the region, we’re willing to bet that there are some places in Greater Manchester that you’ve yet to explore. Once you’ve committed to all those New Year Resolutions you might want to see how many events you can fit in. Diary at the ready - get planning now!

Duck Race

Image: Rubber Ducks

When: Good Friday

Where: Spinningfields

Rubber ducks aren’t just for your bath. Set them free on Easter weekend at the Manchester Duck Race where thousands of the little yellow fellas will turn the canal yellow as they race their way to the finish line.

Buy a duck for £1, decorate it or go ‘au natural’, then cheer it on from the riverside. All funds raised go to children’s charity, Brainwave, that helps children with disabilities and additional needs to achieve greater independence by improving mobility, communication skills and learning potential through a range of educational and physical therapies. There will be live music and family friendly fun throughout the day and we are sure you won’t mind parting with a little cash for such a great cause. With ducks hidden throughout the city for spot prizes and giant ducks touring Greater Manchester throughout the week, it all makes for a surreal and enjoyable weekend.

Pace Egg Plays

When: Easter Monday

Where: Mossley and Middleton

Filled with unique characters and songs, the Pace Egg Plays have a medieval theme and are supposed to have originated from a time when villagers begged for eggs. Consisting of a hero who is killed by the villain but then brought back to life by a doctor, the series of fight scenes often also include a knight, a bogeyman and local wildlife. Stuff of fairy tales indeed!

After the excitement of the plays which are staged in pubs throughout Middleton and Mossley, the day goes on to include egg rolling for the children and other Easter games.

Well Dressing

When: Last Saturday in July

Where: Chadkirk, Stockport

Another event that takes place at several locations throughout our region, despite its name, Well Dressing isn’t a fashion show! The decoration of the well or spring is traditionally in thanks for a reliable and pure water supply, and was especially common during times of plague or drought.

These days, local volunteers spend days building a wooden frame and covering it with clay, flowers and moss in an appropriate design. At Chadkirk, the design is usually unveiled and blessed as part of the Chadkirk Festival at the end of July alongside a celebration of music and entertainment that lasts the whole weekend.


When: The first Sunday in September (2nd September 2018)

Where: Whitworth

Get your fill of tradition and good luck at this annual village celebration. Originally a festival from the early centuries, Rushbearing was the yearly task of gathering rushes to spread on the church floor to provide a little insulation during the autumn and winter months.  


Fortunately, the church now has central heating, but the pageant has been revived with the  rushes being paraded through the village of Whitworth by dancers and a brass band. Lucky heather grown on the nearby moors can be bought from the cart while the dancing and music continues into the evening.

Black Pudding Throwing Championships

When: 2nd Sunday in September

Where: Ramsbottom

This certainly isn’t cricket! The art of Black Pudding throwing dates back to the War of the Roses in 1455 when it’s said that Lancastrians and Yorkshiremen had to resort to throwing foodstuffs at each other when ammunition ran out. This bizarre set of circumstances is annually celebrated by throwing black puddings at a stack of Yorkshire puddings on a 20ft-high plinth. The winning crown goes to the one who knocks off the most puddings. It has to be seen to be believed!

Set in Ramsbottom amongst traditional market stalls and rides, it doesn’t matter where you’re from - Manchester, Lancashire, Yorkshire or, like the last winner, Staffordshire - you’ll be guaranteed a great day out.

World Pie Eating Championships

Image: First Place Pie

When: Mid December

Where: Harry’s Bar, Wallgate, Wigan

Get pie-eyed at the World Pie Eating Championships which has been taking place annually for more than 20 years at Harry’s Bar in Wigan. Test your constitution by trying to be the fastest to eat a delicious meat and potato filled pastry (vegetarian options are available) measuring exactly 12 cm by 3.5 cm.

The event is never short of controversy: the 2014 results were declared void when the wrong sized pies were used and the use of pies imported all the way from Farnworth in Bolton prompted demonstrations in 2005! It’ll be an exciting race against the clock and three-time champion Martin Appleton Clare as competitors gather from around the globe.

Don’t make 2018 another routine year - get out and about with System One Travel to see what the Greater Manchester region can offer. Whether you’re throwing puddings, fighting off eggs or watching your duck sail off into the distance, you’ll have a tale or two to tell!

Get in touch with System One Travel on Facebook or Twitter to tell us which of these events take your fancy, and let us know about any that we’ve missed. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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