Food, fun and music bring in crowds for Waterfront Celebration
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Live music, food and drink, fairground rides and games – the inaugural Waterfront Celebration weekend in Ipswich had it all.
Alternating with the Maritime Festival each year, the event was a family-friendly celebration of the area’s regeneration and businesses.
The two-day affair was blessed with glorious summer sunshine for more than 30,000 people to enjoy a packed programme.
Suffolk food and drink firms set up their stalls along Neptune Quay for shoppers to enjoy hand-crafted chocolate, fajitas, gin and more.
A pop-up bar complete with live music stage on an adjacent boat showcased some of Ipswich’s finest musicians, while a helter skelter, merry-go-round, crazy golf and Punch and Judy helped keep the little ones entertained.
“It’s gone very well – the weather has been absolutely fantastic and people have come back for both days,” an Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said.
“The Waterfront Celebration is about having a family friendly event and we have activities that promote the businesses down here.”
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While the bigger Maritime Festival has now become a biennial event to fill a busier programme, the festival will still explore the town’s naval history while the Waterfront Celebration focuses on celebrating life and businesses along the thriving area today.
Crucially, all the Waterfront cafes and bars remained open as the council aims to promote local business in the area.
The spokesman added: “The Waterfront Celebration is on a much smaller scale. We haven’t got as many market stalls and we have a slightly different veer to food and drink.
“This is more geared towards being a family friendly event whereas even though the Maritime is good for families, it has the re-enactments and the focus still on the history of the port.”
Both days ran from 9am to 10pm, with the spectacular conclusion to Sunday’s festivities captured in a special firework display.
Angela Gregg, owner of the Prepare 2 Cook stall that teaches youngsters cooking skills, said: “The kids have loved it and the have been very decorative in icing their Peppa Pig biscuits.
“The volume of people has been incredible and all very interactive with the children, which is fabulous.”
Tommy Bradshaw, a 13-year-old entertainer from Totally Brilliant Entertainments who was leading the Punch and Judy shows, added: “It’s been really good.
“Everyone loves it here and it’s a very nice place to have it. As soon as the kids hear the music they come running down.”
Helen Havell made the trip from Kent with her family to lay on Crazy Golf 4-U, and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere throughout both days.
“It’s been absolutely lovely and been very busy both days.
“We just love coming to events like this, especially in weather like this, and the people here have been lovely.”
The celebration is part of the borough council’s packed summer of fun, with this weekend all about cycling with the Crafted Classique Sportive on Saturday and the return of Sky Ride on Sunday (see page six for full preview).