The City of Winter Park will host its 22nd Annual Unity Heritage Festival on Sunday, January 14, and Monday, January 14th.

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 and owned a majority of land in the city.

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 to change its status from “town” to “city.”

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 gospel music and food.

The festival continues the following day at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park for a special groundbreaking ceremony at the corner of Denning Drive and Morse Boulevard, where the city and the Community Redevelopment Agency will be installing a life-size bronze statue of Dr. King, which we outlined in more detail HERE.

Click HERE for more information on the event.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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