Where is it: Ipswich Mall, d'Arcy Doyle Place and Brisbane Street, Ipswich.
What’s it all about: A selection of activities making for a busy afternoon, all as part of the Ipswich Festival – a celebration of Ipswich’s community spirit and heritage!
How can I join in: Creative Kidz, ArtBeat, Parade of Light and the Heritage Bank Street Party are all free events, so just head along to these fun events! There are so many more events uplanned for the Ipswich Festival, so check their website for more details!
Tell me more: At first glance of this amazing festival’s schedule and you would be forgiven for feeling a little intimidated by what’s on offer – there are so many events, activities and entertainment options throughout Ipswich over the 10 days that the festival runs for! We wanted to get some real bang-for-the-buck from 1 day out at the festival – we wanted lots to occupy the kids, we wanted entertainment, we wanted options and most of all we wanted to have a wonderful time!
So we headed out to Ipswich on the first Saturday of the festival to catch 3 events – Creative Kidz, the Parade of Light and the Street Party – all taking place in the City Centre of Ipswich, and all running essentially one after the other, and all generally in the same location! We didn’t realise it when we planned, but there was also another event on at the same time – ArtBeat, again in the same area, so even though we had prepared for a busy afternoon, it got even busier when we arrived!
We kicked off by getting straight into some activities in Creative Kidz which was set up in the Mall – there was so much to do, table after table of fun crafty activities! There was a good crowd of people but there were heaps of different creation stations, so it was easy to get in and get a little bit messy! There was also a program of fun events including animals, circus performances and circus schools, Hoot and Hootabelle from ABC and a really fun bubble show! The shows were well spaced time-wise so there was plenty of time to catch the shows and get some painting or crafts done in between! A few market stalls rounded out what would have been an awesome stand-alone event, let alone one as part of a bigger festival!
Across the road from Creative Kidz was ArtBeat which had heaps more crafty things to for kids. There was a slightly different feel to these workshops, but they still very inviting for the little guys! The main stage was set up for the upcoming Street Party and with music and entertainment on throughout the afternoon, there was a definite festive atmosphere! We also managed to catch part of the action of the Ipswich Festival Criterium cycling race which was really exciting!
We are reasonably seasoned when it comes to visiting events like this, but we were caught a little short by the amount of options here – so many that we should have brought a shopping trolley along to cart away all the paintings and craft we collected along the way! A painting apron would have been a nice idea too!
By the end of these events we had certainly had our fill of craft (although the kids were happy to keep on going!) and we had to secure a spot to catch the action of the Parade of Light. As we soon found out, this event is hugely popular, so you probably need to take you place around an hour before the action kicks off! The parade commenced on time at 6pm and was a fun mix of marching bands, cool cars, marching groups, floats and paper lanterns which were sculpted into amazing creations! The parade was themed “Wizards, Witches and Mystical Creatures” and you would be forgiven for thinking that it was Halloween all over again! Our little guys loved the parade – everything was well spaced and the lanterns were fantastic! But choosing one highlight was easy – the hot air balloon float! Blasting out huge jets of fire straight up into the air as it slowly worked its way up the street, this one was really impressive!
As soon as the parade come to a finish, part of the street quickly filled with classic cars (another festival event we weren’t expecting!) and the crowds quickly shifted focus to the Street Party! Heaps of carnival food, a few rides and live music rounded out the night, but the Street Party was perhaps outshone by the parade that ran before it. It was still lots of fun, but the atmosphere of the parade was certainly on a different level. The live music was great and our little guys were more than happy to join in with the other kids in showing off their dance moves!
All in all, this was such a fun afternoon out! The kids were super tired when we got home, but there were no signs of grumpiness while we were out – and that for us is the best indicator of a very enjoyable event! If the rest of the Ipswich Festival events can match the fun of these events, then visitors are in for a real treat!
More Ipswich Festival Action
Parade of Light
Heritage Bank Street Party
Brisbane Family Explorers