"IF we build it, they will come," said Slice of Haven Food and Wine Festival coordinator Jenelle Nosworthy wrapping up the 2012 event which saw in excess of 16,000 kick back and enjoy the creme of the Camden Haven.
Slice of Haven's growing gourmet reputation saw visitors from Sydney, Brisbane and everywhere in between flock to the Camden Haven River foreshore at the Laurieton United Services Club to, as one visitor said, "discover the area."
70 stallholders enjoyed a sparkling day showcasing local food and beverages and performing demonstrations for the eager crowd.
Along with the delicious foodie offerings there was a truckload, literally, of entertainment with five bands taking to the stage (a Jim Pearson truck).
From acoustic sounds to rockabilly and big band glamour the audience lapped it up and got involved. According to crowd reports the African drummers Baala Baajo and their workshops were a huge hit. Around 60 people, ages 2-92 got a bongo each and learned to find their sense of rhythm. Colourful stiltwalkers also had the crowd gasping.
The Port Venture carried a boatload of people from Port Macquarie to the event, those aboard even spotted whales enroute.
"We're extremely happy with the day," said Ms Nosworthy.
"Seeing people smiling and having a great time was the biggest reward for our team of volunteers who organise the event and our many volunteers who donned our signature green shirts and rolled up their sleeves to help. We had many visitors saying they wished they lived here and many more locals saying how lucky they were to live here. It's great to build that sense of pride in our community.
"We are getting plenty of feedback via facebook, twitter, email and our website - all good, with plenty of people embracing our celebrity MC for the event Peter Everett. He really took the event to his heart and will be keeping in touch with all that goes on in the Camden Haven.
"We could not have done this event without the strong support of the Camden Haven Chamber of Commerce, our generous sponsors and of course the talented stallholders who produce such delicious treats which bring people back year after year."
In 2013, Slice of Haven will return on the fourth weekend in May. Check the website ww.sliceofhaven.com.au, facbook and twitter for updates. Photos from the event will soon be on the website and available for purchase.