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Paisley celebrates its most radical story with two-day festival

Thousands helped Paisley celebrate one of the oldest workers’ festivals in the world – Sma’ Shot Day – with a weekend of history and heritage.

Costume-clad kids, street performers and families joined the parade led by the Charleston Drum – the traditional means of calling the weavers out for their annual festival.

Paisley celebrates its most radical story with two-day festival

*check out our live videos of the parade and the Burning of the Cork on Facebook*

An afternoon-long party of live music and entertainment took place on Abbey Close - featuring performances from PACE youth theatre and Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 – all building up to the traditional Burning of the Cork.

The festival began in 1856 after the Paisley weavers won their dispute with the manufacturers to be paid for the Sma’ Shot – a hidden cotton thread that held the Paisley Pattern shawls together.

It’s one of Paisley’s most spectacular stories and couldn’t be better timed as a new campaign – What’s Our Story? – is launched asking local people to share what makes Paisley and Renfrewshire great and help transform the region’s image.

The campaign aims to capture the everyday moments and tales that make the area one of Britain’s most exciting and diverse to live in.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall says: “Sma’ Shot Day is a fantastic piece of history for the town and a huge boost as momentum builds on our bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“In celebrating the struggle of the Paisley weavers to receive rightful compensation from their employers – the manufacturers of the Paisley Pattern shawls – it’s an event that shows we are renowned as passionate, radical people.

“Sma’ Shot is just one of the town’s stories and we know there are lots more the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire have to tell. What’s Our Story? is all about capturing the full, authentic warmth and vibrancy of local people.

“A new brand for Renfrewshire must come from the people who live, work and study here. It is for that reason twe are asking everyone in Renfrewshire for their help.”

The weekend’s entertainment continued with the popular poetry slam and two radical theatre productions – From the Calton to Catalonia and specially-commissioned Silver Threads.