With food, wine, and cocktails, guests celebrated the opening of the fifth annual summer F.A.W.C! last night.

Around 300 people lined the fairy-lit marquee for the F.A.W.C! Launch Party in the Black Barn Market Round.

Underneath the extravagant tent guests enjoyed samplings from the 21 stalls with a variety of food - from Hohepa Cheese, Organic Ash, and Te Mata Figs - and wine - including Sileni Estate, Craggy Range, and Trinity Hill.

Offerings of craft beer were also enjoyed, as were Hugo Chang's crisp apple martinis which greeted guests upon their arrival.


Last night Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said she was pleased to be launching the event, and they were elated with the numbers of people.

With 13 wine stalls, and four food stalls, she said the samplings on offer were like a "slice of Hawke's Bay".

As well as launching summer F.A.W.C!, last night was also a celebration of the event's fifth anniversary.

"Its going from strength to strength," she said, "we're feeling pretty happy."

In celebration of the event's anniversary, Organic Ash had created six cakes - one of which was cut by celebrity chef and long-time F.A.W.C! ambassador Ray McVinnie to declare the fifth-annual FA.W.C! officially open.

Tukituki MP Craig Foss said events like F.A.W.C! showed the magic of Hawke's Bay.

Visitors to the region who enjoyed these events were able to "live, and drink the magic".

"It's a celebration of good stuff, good people, and a launch into spring and summer," he said, adding in its fifth year the event had gone from strength to strength.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton, and newly appointed Hastings Deputy Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst were there to show their support, and mingled amongst locals, and visitors to the region.

The offerings of F.A.W.C! had even brought a group of 20 from the United States.

Last night's opening was the first of many F.A.W.C! events the group - with members from California, Texas, and Seattle - would enjoy during their stay.

Although members would be attending different events, leader David Rowell said the most popular were the Art in the Olives Festival, the VCP Oyster Bar, "and any barbecue events".

The group would also be enjoying other trademark Hawke's Bay activities - such as the Hastings Farmers Market tomorrow.

A quick scout of the website reveals there are still several enticing events to get along to including a great selection of "walk up" events as well as a number under $50.

• For the full schedule go to www.fawc.co.nz.