Paihia was buzzing as restaurants and cafes filled with people following the annual "it!" Bay of Islands Food and Wine Festival.

For the first time in seven years, organisers moved the festival forward from its usual Labour Weekend date and held it on Saturday.

Anika West, from Blah Blah Marketing, event organisers for Business Paihia which started the event, said while it was a risk, it paid off.

"It was absolutely fantastic. It was a sell-out crowd and door sales sold out about 2pm. It was really good. The food stalls put on some really yummy food, lots of people said it was just awesome."


Ms West said the event was created as a way to bring people from out of Paihia into the town.

"It brought heaps of people into town, restaurants and cafes were full and they were full of festival-goers rather than families. It's awesome for the local economy and that's the reason for this event. Paihia is buzzing," she said.

The festival attracted a 2000-strong crowd, Ms West said. The event was headlined by band Dragon and featured a lot of other local entertainment.

"We try to do everything local. It was really good we had the pie-eating competition and kina-sucking competition. It got heavily rained on but not many people left, everybody brought out their umbrellas and ponchos."

Ms West said the festival was popular with families as it also hosted entertainment for kids such as magic shows, face painting and a bouncy castle.

She said next year's festival would also be held during school holidays.