The City of Winter Park will host its 20th Annual Unity Heritage Festival on Sunday, January 16, and Monday, January 17th.

The event series was launched in 2012 by Crealde School of Art founder, Peter Schreyer, to help share and promote the rich cultural history of Hannibal Square in Winter Park – which was originally founded by Black families in 1881, most of whom were in service to wealthy white families who vacationed on the east side of the train tracks while also owning a majority of land in the city in its early days.

Hannibal Square was incorporated into Winter Park in 1887 before being kicked to the curb in 1893 by the Florida Democrats to remove Black voters from local affairs because, at the time, most white Winter Park residents were snowbirds which made most of the full-time residents of the town Black, and a majority of them were registered Republicans.

Hannibal Square was returned to incorporated Winter Park once again in 1925 when city management needed to up the number of residents to 300 registered voters in order to change its status from “town” to “city.”

Dr. Julian Chambliss, formerly of Rollins College, took us on an amazing tour of Hannibal Square four years ago which you can watch below via Facebook Live.

The annual festival will take place in Shady Park in Hannibal Square 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, featuring special children’s programming and live entertainment. The Monday programming will be hosted 11 a.m.-5 p.m. in the same park with live music and food. The Hannibal Square Heritage Center’s current exhibit is all about the neighborhood and its history as a strong African-American community and is located just across the street from the event.

Click HERE for more information on the event.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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