The Force Was Strong with The Winter Haven Beer Crawl
by James Coulter
They may not have come from a galaxy far, far away, but more than 500 to 600 people arrived in Downtown Winter Haven to enjoy good food, craft beer, and everything Star Wars-related.
The Force was strong with Main Street Winter Haven as it hosted its annual Craft Beer Crawl in the downtown area. Several dozen downtown businesses and eateries kept their doors open after hours to invite attendees in for craft beer samples and horderves.
As the event coincided with Star Wars Day on May 4–as in “May the Fourth (the Force) be with you”–attendees dressed up in Star Wars-themed clothing while several businesses decorated their storefronts with Star Wars decorations and memorabilia and even played the movies on their televisions.
Each participating business served a different appetizer and craft beer. Some places offered simple snacks like popcorn, pretzels, and chips and dip, while others went above and beyond with ceviche, pizza, and even German sausages.
Mark Graham, Senior Marketing Manager for Low Payment Kings, decided bratwurst was a good food to serve at a beer crawl. After all, as he explained: “We have tons of beer. Everyone else has pretzels and chips and crackers. So we decided to go with brats. We were going all the way.”
As for the event, he considered it a great way to attract the community downtown and enjoy the various businesses and eateries in a relaxed environment, especially with more than 500 to 600 people participating.
Haven Shop, meanwhile, decided to order and serve pizza from Pizza Bistro across the street. After all, as Emily Creed asked, “What goes better with pizza than beer?”
Aside from being able to celebrate Star Wars Day, what with her being a huge Star Wars nerd, Creed loved seeing residents and visitors alike visiting the downtown area and seeing everything it has to offer.
“I am enjoying the smile on people’s faces. Having a good time, enjoying good company, and enjoying downtown,” she said.
Bailey McDaniel, Executive Director of Winter Haven Main Street, was especially pleased to host their annual event alongside Star Wars Day. Not only did she see many people peruse various downtown businesses but also showcase their love of a beloved film franchise.
“I think our beer people and our Star Wars fans go along hand in hand,” she said. “I think we tried to plan events around things people love. And I think craft beer has been great with our brewery downtown. So people love craft beer and we go out of our way to facilitate it.”
Main Street Winter Haven will be hosting their upcoming Bark in the Park, a pet-friendly event with activities and opportunities for residents to enjoy with their favorite four-legged friends. The event will be hosted in Downtown Winter Haven on Fri., May 19. For more information, visit their website at: https://www.mainstreetwh.com/