THE smells of local produce filled the air on Saturday as thousands of foodies flocked to Moree Secondary College for the annual Moree on a Plate Food and Wine Festival.
Visitors from as far away as Sydney sampled offerings from more than 40 vendors as organisers welcomed the return of the event, which was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Classic features such as Blokes on the Barbecue, cooking demonstrations and live music by local artists delighted crowds as they filled their bellies with some of the best produce regional NSW has to offer.
Moree on a Plate committee member Georgie Poole said the event was a beloved feature on the North West region's calander.
"We're not too sure of crowd numbers yet, but we were really pleased to see so many people turn out for this event," Ms Poole said.
"It's a day we know the community loves and really missed last year, so it was so important we got it off the ground this year.
"Being a regional area we have to make our own fun and I think it's fair to say we do it really well, judging by how this event went today [Saturday]."
A dedicated team of volunteers helped make the day run smoothly, but Ms Poole said the local agricultural community "really stepped up" to make the event a success.
"The guys at Grove Juice were good enough to lend us some of their workers and honestly our setup only took two hours, as opposed to a whole day," she said.
"There help was greatly appreciated, as was the help of all of our volunteers and our sponsors.
"Without there help we wouldn't have been able to pull this off."
Ms Poole said the success of Saturday's event had helped "reinvigorate the region".
"Our vendor numbers were down a little bit because a few of the businesses we've had come in the past have pivoted their operations due to the pandemic, but we have been able to pick up some new ones," she said.
"As a result we haven't really tried to do too much differently than in the past because I think this year was more about seeing that we could get it up and running again, which I think we've done really well.
"Personally, I think this really sets us up for an even bigger and better event next year."
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