One of the longest-running Florida beer festivals, the Sunshine Challenge, is sure to bring scores of brewers and imbibers to the Hilton in Altamonte Springs Nov. 16-17 for its 22nd annual event. Things get underway Friday morning with more than 700 sudsy entries being judged, but the real fun begins Friday night with a M*A*S*H-themed beer festival featuring 25 craft breweries, including Cigar City, Big River and Terrapin. Tickets are $35 ($40 at the door) and admission includes food from Mellow Mushroom and Tilted Kilt. A pub crawl (beer on the bus!) followed by dinner and an awards ceremony highlight Saturday's schedule. Visit cfhb.org for more.
Homegrown Food Co-op, the awesome market on Orange Avenue near Princeton Street and everyone's favorite Whole Foods alternative, is celebrating five years in business with an anniversary bash 4-9 p.m. Nov. 18. Food vendors include local hot saucier Poca's Hottest, Orenda Herbal and wagyu beef purveyors Pasture Prime. Live music will be provided by Day Joy and the Austin Miller Band. Co-op members are asked to bring spare art materials for a work being created by Shine Shed just for the event. Visit homegrown.locallygrown.net for more.
If you're on your way out of town this Thanksgiving and you find yourself stranded at the airport by the inevitable snowstorm in the Northeast, consider heading up to the Hemisphere Restaurant, dropping $32.95 and partaking in a holiday feast between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The star dish will be an apple cider-and-ginger-brined free range turkey with giblet pan gravy.
Peterbrooke Chocolatier will take over the space vacated by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in the Waterford Lakes Town Center … Colorado-based Red Robin is slated to open its first Central Florida burger joint in Winter Garden Nov. 19 … Look for Jersey Mike's to open Nov. 28 in the former Gino's Pizza & Brew on Church Street; their turkey breast and provolone is good solid drunk food.
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