2023 ESSO community Festival

Sale Lions Club President, Frank Birthisel, Wellington Shire Mayor, Ian Bye and Esso Longford Plants Manager, Clinton Gentle at Esso's Community Festival. Photo: Contributed

LAST week’s Esso Community Festival was marked by strong rain, puddles and visitors looking for shelter.

This did not dampen the spirits of those who attended however.

Esso Longford Plants Manager, Clinton Gentle said the third annual Esso Community Festival was a success.

“It’s really good to stand here and talk to people and and hear stories of the good old days from the people that started out at Esso, and it’s really exciting to learn about those connections and hear their stories about what they remember as kids,” he said.

The day before the festival (Friday), the Esso Community Festival Facebook page acknowledged there would be showers, however said the event was still on. And showers there were.

“But Clinton, if you were able, would you go back in time to Friday and reschedule the date to a nice sunny one?” he was asked while standing under a blue tent sheltering heavy rain.

“Look, it’s always great to have nice weather and I’m sure we would have a lot more people if the sun was out, but people are still having fun and it doesn’t look like it’s dampening their spirits,” he responded.

The day was attended by local musicians at the Gippsland Music & Sound store, and the carpark was filled with an array of local food and beverage options, and a range of free children’s activities including robot making, face painting, a jumping castle and a petting zoo.

According to event organisers, the day put a spotlight on groups working to boost Christmas spirit in the Gippsland region, and featured presentations from the annual Sale Lions Club Christmas Hamper Project and the Red Knights Keith Hamilton Toy Run.

Sale Lions President, Frank Birthisel said Esso has helped the club a lot over the years.

“This year marks the 50th year Esso has supported our annual Sale Lions Club Christmas Hamper Project, and over those years we’ve successfully delivered over 10,000 hampers to recipients in Sale and the surrounding districts, stretching from Loch Sport to Toongabbie,” he said.

Mr Gentle said Esso has built robust relationships with the Sale Lions Club and the Red Knights at the festive event.

“The effort these charities go to, to support those in need is commendable. It was great to have them integrated into the festival this year so that the community could see and appreciate the work they do,” he said.

“I personally really enjoyed talking to everyone and learning more about their history, their connections to Esso, and the positive impact we have had on so many people over our 50 years of operations. It was great to be able to bring those connections together with a fun day for all.”