Paisley is gearing up for a double celebration at the weekend – when the first birthday of the town’s bid for UK City of Culture falls as tens of thousands descend for the annual Christmas lights switch-on.
The Paisley 2021 bid was officially launched a year ago and will be a key feature throughout a day of free-to-attend festive family fun in the town centre, this year headlined by triple-platinum-selling popsters Scouting for Girls.
The Christmas lights are due to be switched on shortly after 6pm – and this year will be immediately preceded by a spectacular Paisley-themed 3D light show projected on to the Gauze St side of Paisley Abbey.
The not-to-be-missed projections will show off the past year’s activity on the bid, while asking residents and visitors to back Paisley’s ambitions before the bid is lodged next spring.
The Christmas extravaganza gets under way at noon with the annual reindeer parade, featuring Santa himself and sponsored by the Paisley Centre.
The parade will last around an hour and follows a new route, starting and finishing on the High Street and covering St Mirren Street, Orchard Street and Abbey Close.
Capital FM DJs including Des Clarke will then get the party started on the main stage in Gauze Street from 1pm.
That will see shows by kids’ favourites Funbox (1.30pm) and up-and-coming Paisley bands Dogtooth (2.30pm) and the Vegan Leather (4pm) before Scouting for Girls take to the stage at 5.25pm after a special Christmas singalong for the crowd,
Other activities include a snow beach and toboggan slide in Dunn Square, craft market and Accord Hospice tea room in Paisley Town Hall and funfair in County Square.
The cost of the performers is being partly met by sponsors intu Braehead, the Paisley Centre, Invest in Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire Leisure and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.
The event is organised by Renfrewshire Council, and council leader Mark Macmillan said: “The Paisley Christmas Lights Switch-on always attracts a massive crowd into the town centre – but the Paisley 2021 element will make this one extra special.
“With that in mind, it is great to see two local acts who are making a name for themselves get to play before thousands on the main stage – the area has a thriving grassroots musical scene and we want to show that off.
“And the Paisley-themed 3D light show on the side of the Abbey will be a perfect way to round off the first year of the bid.
“UK City of Culture tends to go to a place which can show it needs and wants the bid and has clear plan to use the title to transform its fortunes – which Paisley does.
“A mass show of support on Saturday would help show the judges how serious we are, while letting everybody see Paisley knows how to throw a party!”
Residents and visitors should be aware there will be road closures throughout the town centre on Saturday which will impact on bus routes. See www.mcgillsbuses.co.uk for more info.
Parking is free in all council-metered bays and car parks every weekend and there will also be free event parking at West College Scotland, Castlehead High and Paisley Grammar.
More information on the day is available at www.paisley2021.co.uk