Rotary Eltham Festival Returns!

Words by Kevin Hadingham - Rotary Club of Eltham

The Robot together with The CFA Teddy moved through the throng chatting to all the children.

Rotary Eltham Festival November 2020 CANCELLED due to Covid, 2021 CANCELLED due to Covid,  2022 CANCELLED due to flooding and saturated ground conditions! They say “Three strikes and you’re out” but not in Eltham! 

Determined to have a festival, the club rescheduled it to 4-5 March 2023 and the community loved it. Under sunny blue skies, singles, couples, groups and families, toddlers to grandparents, frustrated by the 3 year hiatus, welcomed the return of the Festival and came out in their thousands to celebrate community and have fun.

The Alistair Knox Park was a hive of activity: professional musicians performed on the main stage; young local musicians did their thing on the Buskers Stage; over 100 market, business and community group stalls plied their services over the two days of the Festival; emergency services provided demonstrations and advice and the foodies area offered a great smorgasbord to satisfy all taste buds. There were pottery workshops, sailing boats and electric cars. The Clean Futures Zone provided lots of information and displays of home energy efficiency measures, solar energy and yummy free pancakes prepared on an induction cooktop.

Young families were excited by free rides for small kids, craft activities, face painting, roving entertainers, professional children’s entertainers and Farmer Daryl’s mobile animal farm.

Thousands of people filled the park for the spectacular fireworks on Saturday night and of course teenagers and ‘teenagers at heart’ received their adrenalin fix on the great carnival rides.

The Eltham Rotarians have delivered the Festival for many years and have focussed on developing a model to “bring the community together” with elements to engage and satisfy all age groups and interests in partnership with Nillumbik Council, community groups and local businesses. It showcases “Rotary In Action” and although the Festival is itself a gift to the community, the funds raised through the Festival underpin our local youth, environmental and community service programs – a double win for our community.