Hawke's Bay's famous food festival's reputation drew hordes of newcomers to experience the best of the region's cuisine and wine.
The 10-day F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic's 2017 Summer Series, which had 75 events around Hawke's Bay, concluded yesterday.
Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager and F.A.W.C! organiser Annie Dundas said it was wonderful to see so many new people from outside the region and overseas at the festival this year.
"It's been brilliant, another great F.A.W.C!."
Many of the visitors had not been to Hawke's Bay before or had not been to the region for several years.
The influx of new guests was partly due to the event's growing reputation as well as Hawke's Bay's booming wine and food industries, she said.
"These are people that all love food and wine and are making a genuine commitment to come to Hawke's Bay."
Many of the region's restaurants and wineries were renowned around the country and this would have helped draw crowds of more than 6000 to the festival, Ms Dundas said.
In the past six years since the festival began Hawke's Bay's food and wine scenes have grown with time and money invested into restaurants, cafes, wineries and other businesses.
F.A.W.C! events had a collaboration of many of these with local and national chefs to make a successful showcase of the region's gastronomic delights, she said.
"Al Brown has been back three times, he talks about the ease of doing things in Hawke's Bay and the provenance of food in Hawke's Bay with it all being locally sourced."
Joining the newcomers were many returning visitors who had made the effort to come to F.A.W.C! each year.
"There's quite a handful of people who have been coming for six years ... they'll be back next year.
"There was a couple from California and this was their fourth F.A.W.C!."
One highlight was the launch at Black Barn on November 3 which was a true showcase of Hawke's Bay wine, she said.
The Little Locavore's Lunch at the Hawke's Bay Farmers Market was also a hit.
"You couldn't have a better place to have a food and wine event."
There was a great combination of events throughout the festival from wine releases to cooking classes, she said.
The programme always had certain favourite events and they would throw in some new ones each year.
F.A.W.C! ended with the Everybody Needs Good Neighbours progressive dinner event at The Urban Winery in Ahuriri last night.
The best of Hawke's Bay's local talent including Jeremy Rameka, James Beck, Jackson Smith and Ashley Jones were joined by an array of visiting chefs such as Al Brown, Josh Emett, Nadia Lim, Ray McVinnie and Nici Wickes throughout the festival.