Celebrations for regional communities across Victoria are officially underway, with the Essendon and Geelong Football Clubs proudly launching the 2019 Powercor Country Festival.
Now in its fourth year, ambassadors and country boys Tom Hawkins and Zach Merrett were on-hand at the MCG on Monday morning to acknowledge the contribution rural communities play in the prosperity of the game of Australian Rules Football. They were joined by Chief Executives Xavier Campbell and Brian Cook, as well as Powercor CEO Tim Rourke.
The Powercor Country Festival will culminate in the blockbuster clash between the two sides at the MCG on Sunday afternoon.
Multi award-winning country music artist Kasey Chambers has been named as the headline the act for the pre-game Farmers Market Festival in the Yarra Park, prior to the 3:20pm bounce.
The free-entry festival will showcase the best produce across regional Victoria, with crowds expected to top over 20,000.
Hawkins said the Powercor Country Festival program was continuing to go from strength-to-strength.
“The Powercor Country Festival is a significant event for both clubs and as players, we are proud to be involved in a game which promotes such a meaningful message.
“The Geelong Football Club has a strong connection to the country, as the only regional club in the league, we proudly represent the western region of Victoria. Having grown up in Finley myself, I appreciate the significant role regional and rural communities play in the success of our great game.
“We can’t wait to run out onto the MCG on Sunday and thank Powercor for their ongoing support.”
Hailing from Cobden, approximately 200kms southwest of Melbourne, Merrett said he was proud to take part in the blockbuster clash.
“Country people are pretty strong and resilient characters and there is a meaningful purpose to this game,” Merrett said.
“We’re celebrating those from regional heartlands and their contribution to our game, and state more broadly.
“It’s a celebration of everything that our rural communities have to offer, and over the years Powercor have been great support for both clubs. We always look forward to this clash against the Cats.”
Powercor Chief Executive Officer Tim Rourke said Powercor was proud to be supporting a festival that celebrated the people, products and produce from Victoria’s regional heartland.
“We are a major employer of almost 1000 people who live, work and play in regional Victoria and many of them are active members of local football clubs,” Mr Rourke said.
“This festival is a chance for all Victorians to recognise the role rural and regional areas play in our community.”
Geelong will host Essendon on Sunday 5 May at the MCG in the Round 7 blockbuster.