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Article published 06/10/2021

Winners' Wednesday

Best Cultural Event or Festival 

Paisley Festival 

In this week’s Winners' Wednesday feature, we celebrate Paisley Halloween Festival, national winner of the Scottish Thistle Award for Best Cultural Event or Festival. The festival was commended by judges in 2020 for the way it combats seasonality and for its impressive growth.  

Paisley’s popular Halloween celebrations will make a welcome return for 2021 as Paisley Halloween Festival presents Out of this World.

This year will see a twist on the annual fright fest’s usual format as the town centre will be transformed into an immersive ‘otherworldly’ experience with a series of spectacular installations and light displays concentrated around Paisley Abbey, Town Hall and the River Cart from Thursday 28 October until Monday 1 November – illuminated from 5pm - 10pm for visitors to enjoy.

It promises to be a real spectacle with an alien invasion, creatures from the deep and a constellation of stars providing some fun, free family entertainment. 

We were absolutely thrilled that Paisley Halloween Festival won Best Festival in Scotland at the Scottish Thistle Awards 2019/20. We were in a category with some of Scotland’s most amazing cultural events and are delighted to be keeping company with them. Paisley Halloween Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events in our calendar. Winning this award continues to put Paisley on the map as a great place to visit and experience world class cultural events – and we look forward to continuing to welcome even more people to Paisley to enjoy this year and in future.

The last 18 months has been incredibly difficult for everyone, not least the events industry. We have had to re-think what an event is, looking at the format of each event and considering how we can safely stage large scale attractions for the public in a world living with COVID-19.

Many of the traditional elements of our events just can’t happen this year. For example, our Paisley Halloween Festival event will have no parade and there won’t be live performances as there usually is. But Paisley Halloween Festival presents Out of this World will offer visitors the chance to experience the opportunity to come into town and enjoy the Halloween celebrations in a safe way at a time that suits them. We are so happy to be able to celebrate Halloween again in Paisley with this unique, illuminated trail that offers something a little different from our usual annual Halloween Festival.

Like other event organisers, we are feeling our way back from the cancellations of the past 18 months. Over the next 18 months, as we see the return of our live, in person events – from The Spree, Paisley Halloween Festival and Christmas celebrations 2021 into next year – we are ready to embrace whatever challenges lie ahead and adapt our event models as necessary to offer enjoyable and safe event experiences for the public.

Suzi Maciver, Creative Events Producer for Renfrewshire Council

Paisley Halloween Festival is supported through Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21 and Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund. For more information about the 2021 event, visit the Paisley Is website.

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