Ipswich Local Color, a family festival celebrating spring, the community and their myriad colors, stretched along the Riverwalk in Ipswich on Saturday, April 29th. Things were colorful indeed, from the interactive Jackson Pollock-like painting activity, to the hanging lanterns. With the river as a backdrop, the Ipswich River Watershed Association presented its own colorful contribution to the event and to its organizational toolkit: a puppet show. Hand-crafted puppets performed an original play, using a puppet theater generously lent by the Ipswich Town Library. The story surrounded the very river running alongside and behind the audience. A puppet representing a healthy and happy Ipswich River transforms, during a drought much like last summer’s, into a dried-up shadow of her former self. A child walking along the mud of the depleted riverbank encounters the spirit of the river, and vows to be her voice.
This call for support and advocacy of the river had a repeat performance at Middleton’s Earth Day Festival the follow day. The festival, held at Creighton Pond Camp, owes its existence and success to Sandy Rubchinuk of the Middleton Stream Team. Ipswich River was happy to take part in an event that connects so many children and families to nature. Vendors and activities sought to build a bridge between attendees and the natural world. Boats were on hand to take participants out on Creighton Pond. There were owl pellets to dissect and students from Essex Technical High School were present, with their teacher Paul Crofts, to demonstrate and share their knowledge about water and ecology. The spirit of the day was perfectly captured by an activity led by Sandy herself: the earth (in the form of an inflatable ball) was held aloft on a parachute by the children. As Sandy told the kids, “We need to support the earth!”
Keep an eye out for future performances of Ipswich River’s puppet show, “A Voice for the River”!