Shorter days have not put a damper on this weekend's F.A.W.C! festivities which have seen locals and visitors experience everything from lunch with celebrity chef Simon Gault to Sunday Roast at Pipi.

It was the second to last weekend of winter F.A.W.C! which was proving hugely popular this year.

"We have had a pretty good success rate, so we're happy with that, " Hawke's Bay Tourism's general manager, Annie Dundas said.

"I think word of mouth has been incredibly helpful at spreading the message - locals have been really supportive in telling their friends from out of town."


The winter event's reputation had also grown, showing Hawke's Bay has plenty to offer, even in the colder months.

"Winter obviously lends itself to smaller events, they have all been, as far as the feedback, well received. Summer is bigger, but it's all good for the region.

"At Sacred Hill Wild Game [on Saturday] I sat at a table of people from Auckland and Wellington, the nine I talked to had all been to two F.A.W.C! events and had spent quite a lot of money in town and around those events - it's only going to get bigger and better."

Sacred Hill Senior Wine Maker Tony Bish, who hosted Wild Game with award winning chef Chris Green, said winter F.A.W.C! gave people a much needed boost at a typically slow time of year.

"We had people from Whangarei down to Wellington and local people come along - it was magic," he said. "F.A.W.C! is a really great way to experience some different things, our cellar door is not usually open to the public so it's pretty special to be invited out there."

Mr Green, who grew up in Wairoa was behind popular eateries such as Tinakori Bistro in the late 80s, Plimmer House, Boulcott Street Bistro and most recently Arbitrageur Wine Room and Restaurant in Wellington.

He came on board with Wild Game, which had been run by Sacred Hill as a mid winter event in previous years and was back by popular demand.

"It sold out and it all went smoothly, Chris's food of course was sensational. I have known him for a long time, since Boulcott Street Bistro day, he's got to know us all - we are like an extended family.

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