THE Ipswich Festival is one of the highlights of the city's social calendar. This year, the event sprawls over May 4-14 and brings back all of your favourite activities, including Jazz, Wine and Blues, Global Fiesta and Parade of Light.
There are more than 50 events and exhibitions on show.
Check out some of the highlights and enjoy some family-friendly Ipswich activities, parades and exhibits.
Fire on the River - Thursday, May 4
Enjoy the annual favourite, Fire on the River, on Thursday, May 4, from 7pm at Riverlink Shopping Centre. The night skies are set to explode for the launch of the Ipswich Festival with a spectacular explosion of fireworks and lasers synchronised to a pumping soundtrack.
Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Bremer River, this spectacular display will set the night sky ablaze with light and colour. Best vantage points are at Riverlink Shopping Centre and David Trumpy Bridge.
Heritage Bank Street Party and Honk! - Saturday, May 6
Soak up the atmosphere as the parade ends and the party kicks in, creating an unmistakable sense of fun at the Heritage Bank Street Party on Saturday, May 6, from 7-9pm. At the main stage at d'Arcy Doyle Place, international sensation Matthew Hetherington will take over and provide the sound for your moves. Matt's extraordinary voice and vitality on stage has earned him exceptional reviews, both from his live band appearances and his numerous award winning theatrical performances.
Wander up to the Top of Town as Heritage Bank presents Honk! With more sensational entertainment from the Ipswich City Big Band performing a smooth party covering genres like swing, latin, pop and funk.
Check out the awesome rides with Honk! and the elite show cars, customs, classics, vintage vehicles and plenty of club cruisers! Models span the 20th and 21st centuries. Journey through motoring history and enjoy some great dining options at the historic Top of Town.
Creative Kidz - Saturday, May 6
Treat yourself to a world of interactive activities, performances and workshops at this year's Creative Kidz Big Day Out on Saturday, May 6, from 1-5.30pm. Owl pals Hoot & Hootabelle will take over the stage for a musical performance then a meet and greet. Run away to the circus for a day at the Sekisui House Circus School and master the art of hula hoop, juggling, diablo and spinning plates.
Colour your day at the Yellow Cab's Face Painting Factory or get artistic at the Ipswich City Square's Crocodile Painting Corner. Laugh out loud with the amazingly inventive Dr Hubble in the Bubble Man Show. Bubbles only ever want to be spheres, but Dr Hubble will show you square, hexagon, octagon and even pyramid bubbles!
The pied piper of little people, Tim Jackman will have the very young and young-at-heart under his musical spell before you can say Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! Come face to face with some Wild Aussie Icons when Storage King Ipswich brings the zoo to you... featuring snakes, possums, turtles, lizards, owls, flying foxes and a crocodile.
Don't forget to partake in the free workshops including plaster painting, clay play, lantern making, weaving arty brooches, junky puppets, funky flying fish and so much more.
Festival Parade of Light - Saturday, May 6
Enjoy a spellbinding display featuring giant lanterns, marching bands, and members of our spirited Ipswich community as it snakes its way along Brisbane Street in the Parade of Light on Saturday, May 6, from 6pm. This year's theme is Wizards, Witches and Mystical Creatures. Among the display will be characters from Harry Potter to Nanny McPhee and Falkor the Good Luck Dragon.
Global Market, Saturday, May 13
Enjoy a vibrant mix of world music, dance, international cuisine, stalls, workshops and activities to celebrate cultural diversity. Hand-crafted items, jewellery, giftware, decorative carvings, arts and crafts will be available at the Global Market.
The main stage entertainment kicks off at 2pm and brings together diverse cultural performances. With sticks clashing festooned with bells, Belswagger Morris Folk dancers will take you through different English village traditions of Cotswold Morris dancing.
Not to be missed is the student performance of gypsy jazz, Cigány Weaver, set to traditional Romani music.
Enjoy the spectacle of colourful and imaginative traditional costumes from the famous Oruro Carnival as Bolivia Marka Dance Group present exotic and rarely seen dances from different regions of Bolivia
Roots and funk outfit, Fat Picnic will contribute to the South American representation, their songs are sung in Portuguese with an energy and beat that everyone can dance to.
World first Didjboxa Geoffrey Fabila will captivate you with his modern spin on the didgeridoo's ancient and traditional sound, while Umkancho presents a new wave of mindful and intelligent African music built around the traditional Zimbabwean Mbira.
Traditional Persian music will be performed by the talented Jazzab Ensemble.
Other enjoyable activities will include watching the Chinese Lion go through the crowd, the chance to create your own Hawaiian Lei and learn some Bollywoodesque moves from Dance Masala.
Jazz, Wine and Blues - Sunday, May 14
Sit back, relax and enjoy an afternoon of smooth grooves and rocking blues with jazz, wine and blues at Queens Park on Saturday, May 14, from 2pm.
Secure your spot early and stay the day for this popular Ipswich Festival highlight.
Acts include Rumblefish, Cigany Weaver, The Big Love Blues Band, SCAT, and Aria Hall of Fame inductee, Russell Morris.
Don't forget to check out some of the other activities on offer, like the unmasked display at the heritage St Paul's Anglican Church in the Ipswich CBD, which runs for the duration of the Ipswich Festival.
Other unmissable events include Festival Cabaret at the Ipswich Civic Centre on Thursday, May 11, and in-situ public art throughout the entire event in the CBD.
Mayor Paul Pisasale said: "A blaze of colour in the night sky will signal the start of the 2017 Ipswich Festival on Thursday 4 May.
"A full 10 minutes of fireworks over the Bremer River set to its own soundtrack will once again be a crowd favourite.
"The team at Ipswich Events Corporation have produced an outstanding action-packed program made possible with the support from many corporate sponsors.
"These sponsors make it possible for most of the events to be presented free for residents and visitors.
"From celebrating our visual arts through the Ipswich Art Awards and InSitu to the Creative Kidz Big Day Out to the Mayor's Festival Ball on 5 May, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
The Ipswich Art Awards features local and national artists, competing for total prize money and artist in residence packages in excess of $20k
"A regular fixture of the festival is Unmasked. I love to see the masks created each year from a new generation of school children who are invited to paint a mask within the theme of the festival.
"This year it is Ipswich's Iconic Species.
"The masks will be on display along St Paul's Church garden in Brisbane Street.
For further information and the complete schedule of events, visit ipswichfestival.com.au/2017.
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