SEKISUI House attracted nearly 5,000 people to its colourful Main Street Festival on Saturday, May 26, to celebrate the official opening of the Ripley Town Centre.
Main Street was transformed into a space for sidewalk dining and shopping with locals enjoying live music and entertainment including roving stilt walkers, acrobats, a fire performer and roller girls.
Families were treated to a free day out with kite flying, rock climbing, a balloon twister, face painter, kids cooking, silent disco and magic shows available to keep the kids entertained.
Ripley Town Centre development manager Taku Hashimoto described the festival - which marks the opening of the $40 million first stage of the town centre - as a huge success.
"It was great to see the community come together to celebrate this amazing milestone for the region,” he said.
"Ripley Town Centre will undoubtedly become the future community heart and an important meeting place for residents.
"Main Street Festival was about showcasing the numerous amenities residents from the Ripley region, and Greater Ipswich, now have on their doorstep, while showcasing all the new businesses.”
Visitors were able to enter the draw to win one of three Ripley Town Centre eftpos cards up to the value of $1000, with the prizes going to Jessica Mazzola ($1000), Kat Jeffreys ($500) and Desiree Dowling ($250).
"Main Street Festival was also a chance for locals to discover Satoyama Way - an all-weather community gathering space which connects the indoors and outdoors,” Mr Hashimoto said.
The lushly landscaped Satoyama Way includes green walls, water features and seating areas. The space will be extended as the centre grows.
Stage one of the town centre is anchored by a Coles store.
Speciality retailers located in the centre include BWS, Madhouse Discount Ripley, APAR Hair Studio, Gold Class Nails, Orion Massage, Eco Shot Café, Mum's Bakehouse, Ripley News, Ecco Ripley Sales and Information Centre, The Discount Chemist, Ripley Dental Surgery and the Ripley Veterinary Hospital.
The Ripley Medical Centre and Chinese Lor Restaurant will be opening soon.
Sekisui House Australia CEO and managing director Toru Abe and Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann performed an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the festival, which was also attended by State Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden, Acting Mayor Cr Wayne Wendt and a number of local Ipswich City councillors.
Time-lapse footage of the centre construction and the masterplan were also on display.
The $1.5 billion precinct is expected to be a catalyst for major regional growth during the next decade.
The town centre opening marks one of the first major regional infrastructure deliveries in the Ripley region since October 2010 when the State Government nominated it as a priority development area to accelerate development for the growth requirements in south east Queensland.
The Ripley population is tipped to soar by almost 28 per cent each year during the next eight years, making it one of Queensland's fastest-growing areas.
The State Government has spent upwards of $1.5 billion on major infrastructure items in the western corridor since 2005, and a further $500 million has recently been announced to support the corridor's growth objectives.
These include the $366 million extension of the Centenary Highway, the extension of the passenger rail line from Darra to Springfield, the Centenary Highway duplication to Springfield valued at $1.27 billion, as well as a $124 million extension of the Ipswich Base Hospital.