Paisley celebrated its biggest ever Halloween Festival as 41,000 people flocked to the town to see the amazing floats, circus performers and spectacular Mardi-Gras style parade.

One of the largest festivals of its kind in the UK, this year’s Dark Circus themed event was delivered alongside internationally-acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou, who helped transform the entire town centre into the perfect Halloween playground.

More than 350 costumed performers and community groups took part in the parade, the centrepiece of the festival, which wound its way through the town centre, led by the sinister Svengali ringmaster. The parade also featured fantastic, giant lion and elephant floats, ferocious fire performers, creepy clowns and curious creatures, to delight the gathered crowds.

Another spectacle of the festival was the dazzling aerial performances from aerial artists, All or Nothing, who performed their death-defying act ‘Into the Dark’. The performance saw the artists take to the skies to circle and swirl around a haunted carousel over the grounds of the town’s iconic Abbey.

Crowds were entertained with top-class live performances from the likes of Spark LED Drummers, Mr Wilson’s Second Liners and Big Grey on the Circus Stage. A funfair and cinema screening of popular Halloween films added to the packed programme, while families enjoyed workshops including pumpkin carving and costume making workshops.

The Silent Disco also proved a welcome addition to the festival offering plenty of dancing, singing and Halloween fun for all the family.

Amanda Clarke from Motherwell, said: “This is our first time to the event, we saw it online and wanted to come along. It’s been a great day out with the kids. We’ll definitely be back next year.”

Kirsty Cameron from Paisley said: “It’s really well put together, I bring the family most years and it’s always very good with lots going on.”

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council’s Head of Communications, Marketing and Events, said: “This year’s Halloween Festival was our biggest and most ambitious to date covering the entire town centre with a jam-packed programme with something for everyone to enjoy.

“The event grows larger and more creative every year and is one of the highlights in our event calendar and has really cemented the town’s position as a key destination for visitors.

“Paisley has always had a thriving artistic community – creativity and performance is in the DNA of the town and Halloween gives the community the perfect opportunity to showcase their talents and dress up while they do it – it’s the perfect celebration.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this year’s event such a huge success, whether by taking part or by coming along and enjoying the festival.”

Julian Bracey, Artistic Director of Cirque Bijou, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know the people of Paisley to put together this year’s Halloween Festival. We’ve worked closely with local artists to run community parade workshops over the last few months and are so grateful for all the hard work they’ve put in.

“We’re really proud of what we achieved this year, and everyone who took part or came along should be too.”

The Paisley Halloween Festival, which was supported in 2018 through the Year of Young People event fund, was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland for this year’s event.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The Paisley Halloween Festival has delivered another spectacular two-day event with all the performers and participants putting on a fantastic show for the crowds. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and with its own dark and deathly witch history, Paisley is the perfect place to celebrate Halloween.

“The Festival continues to go from strength to strength and EventScotland were delighted to continue its support of the event through our National Events Programme; building on the great work done last year as part of the Year of Young People 2018.”

The Paisley Halloween Festival, which was supported in 2018 through the Year of Young People event fund, was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland for this year’s event.

Paisley Halloween Festival is one of the major events in Renfrewshire Council’s winter events programme which continues with Paisley Fireworks Spectacular (Saturday 2 November) and Christmas Lights Switch-On events in Paisley (Saturday 16 November), Renfrew (Saturday 23 November) and Johnstone (Saturday 30 November). The town centre also sees the return of the WinterFest event from 23 November until 30 December, run by Paisley First, featuring an outdoor ice rink, LEGO Paisley Penguin Parade Trail and plenty of festive fun.

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