The nearly 20,000 people who enjoyed the colourful Cox Partners Hawke's Bay Christmas at the Park event last December were not the only ones to give it the thumbs up as a great time out.

To the delight of organiser David Trim and his crew it has been named as one of the five finalists in the Best Community Event of the Year as part of the New Zealand Events Awards.

What made it extra special in terms of acknowledgement was that it was the first time it had been put forward as a contender.

"To be listed as a finalist in the Best Community Event of the Year category is an excellent achievement," Mr Trim said.

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"It's great for our region to have events be recognised at this level."

Last year's event was the first time it had been staged in Hastings, at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds, having previously been put on at Napier's Anderson Park.

It will alternate between both cities with this December's event to be staged in Napier.

"This is a significant achievement for Hawke's Bay and it takes a community to make this event a success each year - we are really pleased the effort of everyone involved is able to be recognised in such a way," Mr Trim said.

The other finalists in the category are the KPOP Showdown, Beach Series, Tutukaka Coast Winter Festivals and the Waitangi Tuwharetoa Ki Pukawa Festivals.

Mr Trim said he expects the competition to be tough.

New Zealand Events Association chairwoman Andrea Scotland said the finalists had pushed boundaries and set benchmarks in dynamic and innovative ways.

"Year on year we are seeing a sustained growth in terms of the level of awards applications we are receiving," she said.

"Not only is that incredibly exciting but it also shows how strong the events industry is in New Zealand and the contribution it makes."

The public will be able to cast their votes for the finalists through an Eventfinda-based poll for "New Zealand's Favourite Event" with voting details set to be announced shortly.

The winners for the awards in the 10 overall categories will be announced at the New Zealand Event Awards Gala Evening in Auckland on October 11.