Renowned local artist named Moe’s Citizen of the Year

Citzen of the Year: Steven Bechaz (middle), with Lions Club President Ken Bechaz and 2019 Citzen of the Year Rosanna Colli.

Alyssa Fritzlaff

MOE’S Old Gippstown hosted this year’s Australia Day celebration.

Locals flooded through the gates to take part in the sausage sizzle and enjoy the festivities. Some dressed up in Australian themed costumes, while others donned their favourite pair of shorts and thongs.

Music was supplied by the 350s Blues Band, who volunteered their time to entertain guests, playing Australian themed songs all morning.

Sizzle: Gippstown Events coordinator Rae’anne Vincent and Bill Ringin.

Moe Lions Club president Ken Bechaz took to the stage to present the 2022 Moe Citizen of the Year award.

The winner was local artist Steve Bechaz.

Steve is a well-known member of the community, recognised for his many murals scattered throughout Moe and the Latrobe Valley.

Celebrate: Hannah, Nicole, Matthew, Ben and Emma Jackson were out having fun.

Last year he organised the Show me some Art Festival in Moe, bringing regional, metropolitan and international artists to the town.

Through the event he raised $6000 for mental health organisations Beyond Blue and Lifeline Gippsland.

Notably, Steve also works with young people in the community to help them develop their artistic abilities and express themselves through their work.

Woof: Minnie the dog was all dressed up.

Steve was commended by the Lions Club president for his work in the community during the award presentation.

“Steve is not afraid to put in his own time and effort,” he said.

“He is dedicated to getting young people to recognise their abilities.”

Steve said it was an honour to be awarded Citizen of the Year.

“I grew up in Moe, I want to put Moe on the map with some amazing art,” he said.

“I want to promote Moe and the amazing town that it is.

“I’d like to thank my family. Especially sister Allison, who has really been a driving force in my work. Also, my dad, although he’s passed away, he really supported me.

“Thank you to the local community. They really got behind the festival last year, which was great.”

The festival is set to return to Moe in April 2022.

Flash: Mario and Maggie Gembin from the Thunderbird Club.

Old Gippstown manager Tina Fort said she was delighted by the number of people who showed up on the day.

“I think it’s fantastic… it’s nice to see the community come together,” she said.

Popular: locals lined up for sausages.

She thanked the many local organisations and businesses who helped make the big day happen, including Moe Lions Club, Banjo’s Traralgon, Gippsland Wholesale Meats, Brentcorp Traralgon, Latrobe City Council, Gippstown Cafe, the Gippsland Vintage Car Club and all their volunteers and staff.