By Margie M. Palmer
It’s no great secret that the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) knows how to throw a party, and their upcoming event, Taste ‘N Tinis, is no exception.
The annual cocktail party will take place on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 4-9 p.m. As in years past, the HBA has partnered with local businesses to offer holiday shoppers a festive treat. For those who haven’t indulged in years past, Taste ‘N Tinis allows participants to enjoy a self-guided walking tour through Hillcrest that’s centered around shopping, delicious food and holiday-inspired martinis.
Michael Cox, HBA’s new marketing director, said the event was incepted in 2011 as a way to allow people a fun way to enjoy the holiday season; it was also designed to help increase awareness about shopping local.
“We wanted to help increase foot traffic into local businesses by bringing people into Hillcrest to shop, enjoy food and to have some drinks,” Cox said, adding that the event is attended by people throughout San Diego County.
“It’s really interesting that a lot of people come into Hillcrest for this,” he said, adding that the HBA expects the 2016 Taste ‘N Tinis will draw more than 600 attendees into the 92103. “It’s definitely not as hyperlocal as Nightmare on Normal Street. The event grows and changes a little bit each year and it’s never the same. The crowd is always different.”
Business participation has also varied, with different venues having signed on or opted out since the inaugural event.
This year’s Taste ‘N Tinis will kick off at the corner of Robinson and Fifth avenues, where attendees will pick up wrist bands and receive a map of participating restaurants and retailers from the Will Call booth.
A total of 31 businesses, spanning from Fiesta Cantina to the Hillcrest Brewing Company, have signed on for this year’s stroll. And while shuttle service will not be available, Cox said it’s not unusual for attendees to travel on foot from the west to east ends of Hillcrest: state Route 163 divides the neighborhood into half.
“You would think that people’s favorite thing about this would be the martinis and the food, but it’s really something that people get to do with their friends,” he continued. “It turns into this street party that takes them on a journey where they get to shop, try cocktails and taste great food samples.”
Those who participate in the cocktail portion of Taste ‘N Tinis must be 21 or older.
Cox said customers who shop at certain retailers and restaurants will receive raffle tickets for the Shop Hillcrest for the Holidays drawing after each purchase. At the end of December, one lucky shopper will win more than $3,000 in Hillcrest gift cards. The full list of retail and restaurant participants can be found at ShopHillcrestfortheHolidays.com
—Margie M. Palmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.