On Sunday, February 26th the 40th Anniversary of the Moonee Valley Festival was celebrated at Queens Park..
The first Festival was held at Queens Park on Sunday, 6th March, 1977, and was known as the Essendon Community Festival. Its origins are taken from notes sent to me by well known local identity, Frank Di Blasi, who founded it.
“The first local community festival was suggested and organised by me as founder and the Public Relations Officer of the Essendon Ethnic Liaison Committee chaired by the then Mayor of Essendon, the late Cr Dorothy Fullarton. The committee included Tony and Elena De Fazio, Ross Joyce and Ange Kenos and many other local Essendon residents of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds whose names I can’t remember.
It ran from about 12.00 noon until 4.30 pm. It attracted about 150-200 people who ventured to the park to see what was going on. The program included musical performances by three local bands and singers. There were about six food stalls and three or four arts and crafts stalls to enable local artists to display their work.
In all, as a first attempt, the fun-filled afternoon turned out to be a most enjoyable community event for many of our own members’ families who brought along their delicious home-made food and had a picnic on the park’s lawns. We organised the Festival for the first five years until it was getting far too time consuming for us as full time workers, so we decided to ask the Essendon City Council to run it for the Community. The Council has organised it for the past 35 years.” (Thanks to Frank for this Information)