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Ipswich Illumination & Open Mic

Ipswich Illumination is an annual event that takes place along the Ipswich River and celebrates local art, culture, and community. It’s my favorite Ipswichian celebration, and this year was different for two reasons: 1) it was a month later than usual, and 2) the poetry reading was at Zumis Coffee & Espresso, combined with Ipswich Poetry Group’s monthly open mic.

The open mic kicked off the festivities at 5pm, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Zumis so packed! No spare seats, folks standing. Definitely the biggest open mic group I’ve ever performed in front of. It was both overwhelming and inspiring.

By the time poetry was over, it was already dark. Usually Ipswich Illumination includes scheduled happenings such as wish lanterns and aerial dancers on the river. No such events this year because the river was already too cold. Bonfires were lit along the water though, and it was a beautiful night overall. The usual activities were replaced with more musical performances on three different stages along County Street and in front of the EBSCO mural. The glow-in-the-dark tunnel was also more interactive this year, offering glow pens and paint.

Astronomers from Harvard set up telescopes in front of Town Hall and Aisha and I got to peek at Neptune and a set of twin stars. Pretty cool!

Also new this year was a “haunted house” at the Ipswich Museum — a walkthrough with creepy animatronics and spooky stuff and jump scares. It was well done! There was also a movie projected on the back of Town Hall, and though no one was watching it and I have no idea what move it was, it added to the overall illuminated atmosphere.

Though I missed some of the typical activities, Illumination was a weird and wonderful event per usual, and I think I might even prefer it in October!

Earlier Event: October 17
Nancy Podcast @ the Museum of Science
Later Event: October 26
Lawrence Community Read