Manchester Bonfire Night 2011: From Balotelli burning to the traditional firework display

By Kevin McHugh

Bonfire Night. Not as sexy as Halloween: cooler than Easter.

A time when fire-fighters around the country visit schools to remind children not to burn their houses down and keep their terrified pets indoors. From Balotelli burning and footballing fan hackers, to Aeroplane landing in Manchester, we take a look at the city’s Bonfire Night related news and events.

After last year’s torching of Wayne Rooney, this year those southerners have it in for the blue half of the city’s favourite rebel, Mario Balotelli.

Tomorrow night the Edenbridge Bonfire Society in Kent will be burning a 30ft Balotelli effigy, complete with “Why always me?” emblazoned across the striker’s chest.  

Each year the society set fire to a celebrity that has featured prominently in the news, and following the ill-advised fireworks display in the Italian’s Cheshire mansion, the choice must have seemed obvious.    

But event organiser, Charles Laver, has suspicions of foul play after the society’s website developed problems.

He said: “Our website went down the day after our press release came out so we thought we might have been hacked.

“We had a couple of emails from Manchester City supporters who were angry about it.”

Despite this suspicious occurrence, Manchester City’s fan sites seemed to take the event as a nothing more than light-hearted fun.

Steven Allweis, editor of the View From A Blue fansite, said: “I’m not sure Manchester United fans will care that much, but as long as the real Mario carries on scoring goals, I’ll be happy!”

Ric Turner from said: “It’s all for a good cause, and the actual effigy itself looks great. I don’t think any City fans are really offended by it.”

Last year the society burnt a Wayne Rooney effigy so this year’s bonfire sees the score settled across Manchester’s footballing divide.

Giant burning footballers aside, what does Manchester have to offer this Bonfire Night? As usual the city has a fine selection of fireworks displays on offer.

Heaton Park near Prestwich, Debdale Park in Gorton, and Platt Fields in Fallowfield all have their usual impressive free-of-charge displays that kick off at 7:30pm.

But if air-bound fireworks and ritual fires are not what you’re in the mood for on Saturday night, get to Jabez Clegg on Portsmouth St in Manchester where Italian-Belgian DJ Aeroplane headlines the Bonfire Night of Disco.

Organiser for the event, Now Wave’s Wesley Killerbee, said: “We’re also flying in a spectacular formation of supporting DJs and producers representing the cream of UK talent.”

“Get ready for a Bonfire Night celebration like no other. You just might need a black box recorder to remember it all,” he added.

The Trafford Centre rounds things up on Sunday night with the biggest free choreographed display in the North-West. Organisers plan to light up the night sky with fireworks while some of the year’s biggest hits set the scene.

There will also be a specially written Legoland stage show in The Orient area at 5pm before the fireworks get started outside at 6:30pm.

And you thought Bonfire night was all treacle toffee and serious eye injuries. 

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