The retailers and restaurateurs of the West New England Avenue area are teaming up for the inaugural Taste of Hannibal Square, Nov. 17 from 5-8 p.m. Presented by Friends of Hannibal Square and in partnership with the City of Winter Park, proceeds will benefit the Hannibal Square Heritage Center.
The event grew out of a hyperlocal effort to enhance the sense of community between businesses and residents. “We’ve been collaborating over the past six months, trying to draw attention to the retailers and generate more business,” said Rich Palmano, broker/owner of Palmano Group Real Estate.
The result was a pub-crawl-style gathering dubbed Hop Hannibal, where Hawaiian shirts are the only admission to an evening of specials, tastings, and networking.
“Everybody does their own thing,” said Polina Kazantseva, co-owner of Cafe Boutique Piano. “We have a lot of beer vendors and wine vendors that want to support the event, they do give-aways and it’s a lot of fun.”
“That was on the third Thursday of each month and in the middle of summer,” Palmano adds. “For the fall, we wanted to close down the street and get restaurants to participate to make it more of a show.”
The event’s $30 dining package includes 5 tickets, each redeemable for special event menu items at any participating restaurant. “We’ll definitely have something vegetarian,” said Kazantseva. “Definitely some seafood items, and probably the beef tenderloin with the red wine sauce. That’s our most popular item.”
Guests can sample dishes or forego the ticket package and simply enjoy a casual evening of drinks, live music, and mingling. Retailers will offer promotions and complimentary beverages, and Corona beer will be unhand with a tasting station.
“The idea is, it’s a free event,” said Palmano. “You don’t have to pay to get in, you can just literally come get some free drinks at the retailers, and then you can go to a restaurant and have dinner.”
With events including Cows ’n Cabs and the local art festivals highlighting the Winter Park event calendar, Hannibal Square merchants also want to make their mark. However, their target is on a slightly more localized level.
“I think it’s gonna turn into something a lot bigger moving forward,” said Palmano. “But we want people to see what we have to offer while making sure everyone has a good time.”