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Thousands enjoy return of Ipswich Maritime Festival to the Waterfront

PUBLISHED: 15:35 20 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:55 21 August 2017

Barry Hill from Motor Tug Kent at the Ipswich Maritime Festival. Picture: GARY DONNISON

Barry Hill from Motor Tug Kent at the Ipswich Maritime Festival. Picture: GARY DONNISON

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From vicious Vikings and sumptuous treats to funfair rides and top bands - Ipswich Waterfront was buzzing with activity for the return of the Maritime Festival.

The festival, which now takes place every other year, has run from 10am-10pm yesterday and today, where around 60,000 punters gathered along the marina to enjoy the special atmosphere and celebrate the town’s maritime history.

Ipswich Waterfront was packed with boats of all shapes and sizes for Ipswich Maritime. Picture: GARY DONNISONIpswich Waterfront was packed with boats of all shapes and sizes for Ipswich Maritime. Picture: GARY DONNISON

Among this year’s offering was a Waterfront walk fully decked out with street stalls for food, drinks, crafts, plants and other goodies, a number of pop-up bars, and live music across two stages.

People enjoying going on board. Picture: GARY DONNISONPeople enjoying going on board. Picture: GARY DONNISON

There was plenty to keep the children entertained too with football challenges, funfair rides and a punch and judy show.

Boats alongside at the Ipswich Maritime Festival - there was a selection of historic vessels as well as modern ones. Picture: GARY DONNISONBoats alongside at the Ipswich Maritime Festival - there was a selection of historic vessels as well as modern ones. Picture: GARY DONNISON

Rounding out the two-day extravaganza once again was the firework display.

Around 60,000 people attended the two days. Picture: GARY DONNISONAround 60,000 people attended the two days. Picture: GARY DONNISON

“The event has got something for everyone,” said Mark Whiting, Ipswich Borough Council’s operations manager for commercial development.

Erik Erickson from Longship. Picture: GARY DONNISONErik Erickson from Longship. Picture: GARY DONNISON

“It’s huge – not only to promote how much of a maritime history Ipswich has, but the fact that it is such a great event for people to come down to.

Music was part of the entertainment alongthe Waterfront. Picture: GARY DONNISONMusic was part of the entertainment alongthe Waterfront. Picture: GARY DONNISON

“It links to the town centre and people come every year for two or three days not only to use this part of town but the town centre as well.”

Ipswich Maritime attracted huge crowds this year. Picture: GARY DONNISONIpswich Maritime attracted huge crowds this year. Picture: GARY DONNISON

To help celebrate the port’s maritime history an exhibition was set up in the Old Custom House, while Ipswich brewers Beer&Co. brought back a beer festival to coincide with the weekend at St Peter’s by the Waterfront.

All the fun of the fair at Ipswich Maritime. Picture: GARY DONNISONAll the fun of the fair at Ipswich Maritime. Picture: GARY DONNISON

Stallholder Linda Franklin, owner of East Anglian based business Libao HP which sells unique hand-painted boots among other things, said: “This is such a lovely setting – it’s been really busy both days, it’s been lovely weather and people have been very friendly.

Funfair rides were enjoyed by all ages. Picture: GARY DONNISONFunfair rides were enjoyed by all ages. Picture: GARY DONNISON

“I do this every year and have a regular following – events like this are my livelihood.”

Performers entertained the crowds all weekend. Picture: GARY DONNISONPerformers entertained the crowds all weekend. Picture: GARY DONNISON

The special weekend has proved so popular that bosses have said they will look at whether it can be sustained as an annual event again, although no time frame on a firm decision has been made.

Below decks at Ipswich Maritime. Picture: GARY DONNISONBelow decks at Ipswich Maritime. Picture: GARY DONNISON

Mr Whiting added: “This has become such a tradition for people to come to, as proved with the Waterfront Festival last year, which is why we need to consider how often we have this.”

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