Celebrating Ipswich in style

Thousands of people came together at the weekend to celebrate the city of Ipswich, with four action-packed days of arts and culture for the Ipswich Festival.

Crowds lined the streets on Saturday evening for the Festival Parade of Light, which saw a vibrant array of giant lanterns and floats wind their way along Brisbane Street.

This year’s theme, Our Backyard, captured the imaginations of young and old, with everything on show from tennis players, to native animals, and even an outdoor loo.

First-time Ipswich Festival visitor, Ruth Utteridge, commented on Facebook, saying how much she enjoyed the quality of the floats.

“We were very impressed at all the different light structures and animals created, also at the turnout of participants in the parade,” she said.

The Rotary Club of Booval were a hit with locals for their fun depiction of an outdoor dunny, which saw them take home the prize for ‘Best use of lights, creativity and colour’.

President of the Booval Rotary Club, Graham Keidge, said it drew a lot of laughs from the crowd, and helped educate others.

“A lot of people had never even seen a country toilet, they didn’t know what it was,” Mr Keidge said.

 “It’s something a bit different, a bit novel.”

“We had some of the guys playing outback cricket against the wall of the dunny, so it was a bit of fun.”

‘Best overall depiction of the theme’ was won by Arts Alive Creative Art School, for their vivid portrayal of backyard flora and fauna, including birds, bats and bees.

Prize for Best school or kindergarten went to Star Kids Early Learning Centre, for their depiction of an Aussie backyard, complete with a hills hoist, barbecue and a jar of Vegemite.

The events kicked off on Thursday night with a dazzling fireworks display and jet-pack stunt performers soaring out of the Bremer River.

Brisbane band Regurgitator headlined Friday’s festivities on the main stage of the Heritage Bank Festival village, while Sneaky Sound System got festival-goers dancing in Timothy Molony Park.

Commenting on Facebook, Ipswich resident Kelly Elms said she was pleased with the number of free family activities.

“We have enjoyed fireworks, a cardboard box maze, creative things for the kids, and evening events. So proud to live in Ipswich and grateful for free family events to enjoy,” she said.

Ipswich City Council’s Marketing Services and Events manager, Carly Gregory, said the new format for this year’s festival was a real success.

“It was a fantastic four days of fun for the community to celebrate everything Ipswich has to offer,” Ms Gregory said.

“There was an action-packed schedule for the four days, with so much on for all ages.

“The success of this year’s Ipswich Festival really helps to put Ipswich on the map and cements the festival’s place on the calendar of must-do events.”

This year’s Ipswich Festival held a new art competition for local schools, with students decorating giant, colourful letters, to spell out #IPSWICH FESTIVAL.

Leichhardt State School won the top prize for their letter ‘I’, painted with a brightly coloured Indigenous design, while St Mary’s College was awarded runner-up for their letter ‘V’.

Other events which took place during the Festival include the Ipswich Arts Awards exhibition and Honk, which showcased vintage cars.

The festival may be over for this year, but there is still time to catch some of the Festival events.

Playing with Light continues at the Ipswich Art Gallery until 28 April, while a display of memorabilia from the Ulster Hotel can be seen at the Ipswich Antique Centre until 21 April.

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