One of the great pleasures of living in Ipswich is the wealth of community activities and the enthusiastic participation of its people. I grew up in a small town but lived for some time in cities. Although there is so much available in a city, theater, music, museums, etc. Small towns have a kind of energy that is special.

The Fourth of July Parade, Old Ipswich Days, Strawberry Festivals, Concerts at the Castle, Tuesday Nights Downtown, the Chowderfest and Ipswich Illuminated are just some of the events that bring neighbors and friends together..

I went to Ipswich Illuminated last night. It was truly a community event with crowds of people walking along the river and across the Hall-Haskell Visitor Center’s green on paths lit by paper bag lanterns. The river was aglow with bonfires fed constantly by a fleet of nearly invisible kayakers. Individuals could light a “Wish Candle” and have it set afloat to move with the current and tide. It was magical to see the hundreds of little lights floating in the water around the bonfires.

Live music, art, poetry, food and people having fun. Children and adults danced and laughed and enjoyed the night. Best of all for me was running into old friends and acquaintances that I seldom see.

Orv Giddings and his band playing on the Riverwalk in front of the wonderful murals depicting the history of Ipswich

Orv Giddings and his band playing on the Riverwalk in front of the wonderful murals depicting the history of Ipswich

Bonfires and floating wishes in the river.

Bonfires and floating wishes in the river.

Paper lanterns at Sawmill Point.

Paper lanterns at Sawmill Point.

At Sawmill Point the music of Ben Staples and Friends had everyone tapping their toes.

At Sawmill Point the music of Ben Staples and Friends had everyone tapping their toes.