By 11am there wasn’t a parking spot to be had anywhere on Fishpen as the crowds poured onto the foreshore footpath to enjoy the EAT Merimbula experience.
Learning from the first year when many stalls ran out within an hour, producers brought more supplies but still some ran out by 12 noon.
The early rain moved away in time for the start at 10am and by 11am queues were at almost every stall as locals and visitors tucked in to fresh seafood, fish, locally bred meats that were turned into gourmet snags, sliders and hot roast rolls.
Much of the food was built around key local ingredients. For those with a sweet tooth there were plenty of delicious looking cakes, tarts and ice creams from which to choose.
President of the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce, Natalie Godward said that organisers had planned on about 3000 people attending but in fact there had been between 3500 and 4000.
There were 20 stalls serving food, wine or beer and at 3pm when the event closed 13 stalls were still operating.
Mrs Godward said: “We had a higher volume of food because everyone catered for 500 people but then we also had a couple of newbies who didn’t and they sold out early.”
One of those was boutique beer brewer, Rob Barber who said he was astounded by the positive response from the public to his range of beers.
Mr Barber’s beers were also being sampled as part of the oyster experience where visitors waded out across Merimbula Lake with an oyster farmer to enjoy freshly shucked oysters and a local beverage over a floating table.
Mrs Godward said that she had received many emails from stall holders saying how happy they were with the event.
“This event is still in its infancy and we want to build on it to create a special and unique experience,” she said.