Blues skies dawned for the Marton Harvest Festival on Sunday, with a big crowd already on site at Sir James Wilson Park by mid-morning.
Event co-ordinator Jen Britton said she was thrilled to see so many people at the new venue, which was three times bigger than the previous spot at Marton Park.
"It's come together really, really well," Britton said.
"For me personally, my day job is as a promoter of the district, so to see [special guest] Jesse Mulligan be able to embrace the people would be amazing.
"I haven't given him a script, he's rolling with it all himself.
"Rangitīkei and Marton itself are all about its communities and its people, and that's what we want visitors to take away from here."
For Judy Stevens, the festival was a chance to bring three generations of family together for a day out.
"We've got a grandmother, a great-grandmother and all the grandchildren," Stevens said.
"There's one generation missing - the parents, who are a bit tired today.
"There's already been some hot chips and lollies, and we've been around all the stalls. Next up will be a bit of dancing, and then we'll go off to the bouncy castle.
"We're all having a great time."
One of the first things festival-goers were greeted with when they came through the gates was a 435kg pumpkin, grown by local residents Aaron and Fiona Ackerman.
"You need good seeds, that's the trick, and a good patch of soil," Aaron Ackerman said.
Fiona Ackerman said another important part was to "hug it every night".
"You've got to have those positive vibes."
The pumpkin was planted in early October and pollinated in January, Aaron said.
"We've grown a few big ones over the past few years, and this is actually a medium-sized one.
"My biggest is 735kg, which was a New Zealand record at the time. There are only a couple of us in the country who get really big ones like that, but hopefully more people take it on.
"I definitely want to get the word out."
Josh Montgomery and Kaitlyn Gallagher were strolling the grounds, with the "cook-off" between Tyson Burrows and Grant Kitchen a must-see event for both of them.
"Two chefs will be competing, then they'll be getting judged, then someone wins a prize," Gallagher said.
Montgomery said that while the cook-off would be a highlight, he had also been "pretty excited" about the Ackermans' giant pumpkin.
"Hopefully I can grow one like that. I'm not sure how it tastes, but it looks good, so that's the main thing."