A two-week celebration of the best Ipswich has to offer will be staged in the town this summer, The Star can reveal today.

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The festival – which will take place between August 13 and 24 – will incorporate the hugely popular Maritime Ipswich weekend, which last year drew 55,000 people to the Waterfront.

Ipswich Central and Ipswich Borough Council have joined forces to launch the celebration, with the aim of championing Suffolk’s county town and bringing the various elements of the borough together.

The event – named Celebrate Ipswich – will feature a varied selection of exciting activities on the Waterfront, along with a host of retail and restaurant offers.

Supporting the event as part of our ‘I Love Ipswich’ campaign, Nigel Pickover, editor of the Ipswich Star, was at the launch of the festival aboard the Viking Blue, along with Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, and Carole Jones, economic development and planning portfolio holder for Ipswich Borough Council.

Celebrate Ipswich begins immediately after the Olympics, and runs until Friday, August 24.

The main focus will be on the Maritime Ipswich festival on Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19.

During the two weeks, shop windows throughout the town will be dressed to impress and people can vote for their favourite in a competition.

Special Maritime offers and treats will be available to VIPs with maritime cocktails, marine manicures, sailor’s lunches and much more on offer.

Mr Clement said: “The Maritime Ipswich festival was a great success last year, with more than 55,000 people in attendance.

“We hope to make it bigger and better this year and have extended it into a two-week celebration of Ipswich, which encompasses not only the Waterfront area but the retail and restaurant zones too.

“The fortnight is set to include a celebration of all that makes our county town so special – a plethora of in-store activities, on-street entertainment, amazing food and drink offers as well as the successful Maritime Festival weekend in the middle.

“It’s definitely set to be an exciting two weeks in Ipswich and not to be missed.”

Ms Jones said: “The focus on the Waterfront during the Maritime Festival gives the whole town a great opportunity to show what we are good at and what we have to offer.

“This is a huge summer showcase for Ipswich – we have begun Ip-art, the biggest festival in the region, we have Suffolk’s only Torch Relay celebration party and have the Maritime Festival.

“Then, in September, the Tour of Britain cyclists begin the race from the Waterfront.

“I think that’s plenty of reasons to celebrate, which is great for residents, visitors and the town’s economy.”

Mr Pickover added: “This festival fits in with the Star’s I Love Ipswich campaign, which is centred on celebrating what makes our town great.

“We have so much to celebrate in this town – from its chic waterfront, beautiful parks, interesting shops, and active cultural scene.

“Celebrate Ipswich will be a wonderful chance for everyone to recognise what makes Ipswich so special.” Justin Bowser, managing director of Ipswich-based HTK, which is sponsoring the event, added: “We’re delighted to be part of Celebrate Ipswich. With our stunning Waterfront, and a developing town centre, we’re really proud of Ipswich as a place to both do business and to live.”

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