In what kids probably saw as a dry run for Halloween, Ipswich Illuminated drew the crowds out last night.
People were encouraged to take a leisurely walk along the river that was lit up all along the way. To help on their way, Green Street and County Street were made pedestrian only.
The route started in the EBSCO parking lot, where Ipswich Ale had set up a beer garden. Part of the lot was cordoned off, and people sat on benches enjoying a beer or food.
Right beside them, the Ipswich Community Band entertained a crowd.
The weekend of fun was organized by the Ipswich Cultural Council.
At the Dam Patio, picture frames, a background, and lights were set up. Here, people got to play around and/or pose for pictures.
After crossing the footbridge, people came out at South Main Street to see a lighted path alongside the Hall-Haskell House.
Inside the house itself, a weekend art show was open. Nel Sogoloff was in there running the show.
That show has been extended for another weekend and will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, and from 9 to 3 on Sunday Oct. 2.
Just outside, children played behind a shadow screen where a strobe light projected their silhouettes onto a screen their parents could view.
In the parking lot beside the police station, the cops had set up their laser display again this year.
Nearby, the fire department had parked its ladder truck and lit up the extended ladder.
Across the street, Michelle Rodrigues-Babson was handing out Make-a-Wish lanterns. She was also collecting donations for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to honor the memory of Jessie Doktor, who died at age 9 from leukemia in 2007.
After the wishes were made and lanterns assembled, a couple of reverends, Gail Doktor and Adam Randazzo, set them afloat among the colored orbs decorating the river.
A few steps away, Ben Staples & Friends were playing at Sawmill Point.
Opposite them, kids were getting glow-in-the-dark face painting. That’s one way not to lose them at night!
The trail continued to town hall via the Sidney Shurcliff River Walk. Naturally, that was lit up, too. It also had wind chimes hanging off the trees to add to the atmosphere.
This “acoustical landscape” was designed as an “erratic surprise,” said town ReCreation Director Kerrie Bates.
For people who continued on County Street, another band, Bottles & Cans, was playing outside the Ascension Memorial Church.
The church’s parking lot had also been laid out for the festivities. There was a food tent and games. And, from there, there was another lit path over to the town hall.
There was an art show inside. And, outside, sights of a different form were visible in the heavens.
Amatuer astronomers Nanette Benoit and Virginia Renehan had set up telescopes and had them pointed at Saturn which, along with its rings, was clearly visible.
Finally, at the Green Street Bridge, Janet Craft’s dance group, the Ipswich Moving Company, put on a performance. “Balance is one of the themes we are playing with this year,” Bates said.
And the dancers proved that.
Suspended under the bridge, the aerial dancers performed their routines while crowds lined up on both sides of the river to listen and watch.