Fall got off to a roaring start for foodies, with the 5th annual Greenwich Wine + Food Festival presented by Serendipity, held Thursday September 24 through Saturday September 26. The weekend saw over 5,000 food and wine connoisseurs, more than 150 members of the press, and over 200 wine and spirit vendors and national partners come together to celebrate the diverse culinary scene in this area and support Paul Newman’s The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Thursday night kicked off with an exclusive dinner at JHouse Greenwich, with wines from Gifft Wines, hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford with special guest, The Food Network’s Geoffrey Zakarian. At the Friday night gala the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito introduced the 2015 Innovative Chefs, who shared the amazing talents that landed them in this exclusive group of top cooks. The Wailers capped off the night with an energetic performance that had the crowd on its feet.

Thursday night kicked off with an exclusive dinner at JHouse Greenwich, with wines from Gifft Wines, hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford with special guest, The Food Network’s Geoffrey Zakarian. At the Friday night gala the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito introduced the 2015 Innovative Chefs, who shared the amazing talents that landed them in this exclusive group of top cooks. The Wailers capped off the night with an energetic performance that had the crowd on its feet.

But the main event was Saturday with the Grand Tasting Tent taking center stage (it was a feast for all senses, with over 150 restaurants, spirits and experts represented under the tent alone). Throughout the day, celebrity chefs like DiSpirito, Zakarian, Alex Guarnaschelli and Adam Richman (who also hosted a fantastic Burger Battle which Plan B Burger won) chatted with Serendipity editors in the celebrity green room and did cooking demos and book signings, Empire City Casino hosted a casino tent, Harvest Wine Bar’s Sasha Jarufe won the Top Bartender Showdown and an extensive taco and tequila tasting was a crowd pleaser. And those are just a few highlights! Finally, Grammy and CMA award-winning country music act Little Big Town brought the house down—and the festival to a climactic close. Here’s what honored guests are saying:

“The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival was a dream day for me! I got to cook my apple cake, meet and mingle with some great people, visit with my sweet friend Kathie Lee [Gifford] and then to top it all off, play a show with LBT in front of an amazing crowd! I’ll take another one of those, please!” — Kimberly Schlapman, leader singer, Little Big Town

“The entire festival was a blast but my favorite part was getting to see, chat and share a cocktail with all my fellow chefs and industry friends. It is rare that we are all in one spot surrounded by thousands of foodies, so it was truly a special weekend.” — Matt Storch, chef/owner, Match in South Norwalk, CT and The Chelsea in Fairfield, CT

“We loved working side-by-side with some of the best in the business and serving up some of our favorite bites for the community and celebrity chefs like Geoffrey Zakarian!” —Julie Levitt, the co-owner of The Granola Bar in Westport, CT

“My favorite part of the festival was doing what I enjoy—cooking up a storm making lobster risotto and talking to the community.” — David White, executive chef, Vespa in Westport, CT

“It’s the absolute best food and wine festival on the East Coast.” — Forrest Pasternack, executive chef, Bailey’s Backyard American Farm-to-Table in Ridgefield, CT

“Judging the Bartender Showdown is always a highlight of the festival; getting to experience some of the most talented mixologists in the area craft their signature cocktails is simply awesome!” — Alan Watts, co-founder of Men Who Dine

“The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival is packed with great food and wine and has a laid back vibe with super talented chefs, amazing demos and of course great music. My favorite part would be my demo of course, How To Make The Perfect Burger. I always love getting up in front of people and showing them how to do something I love.” — Paul Denamiel, executive chef, Le Rivage, NYC