Saturday marked the sixth year of Sherman’s annual Stroll on the Square and Texoma’s Best Bite in downtown. The event included the opportunity to taste several Texas wines while sampling hors d’oeuvres from Texoma restaurants and caterers.
This year marked the event’s largest crowd, with 550 strollers registered to attend, an increase of 100 compared to the previous year’s capacity.
“We’re excited — it’s good food, it’s good music, good wine,” Downtown Sherman NOW Executive Director Karen Tooley, who organized the event, said. “We’ve got all Texas wines.”
Ticket holders were invited to partake in tasting wines from 14 local wineries and food from 12 restaurants and caterers. These dozen food venues — including treats from locations such as Sherman’s Feast on This! Catering — were invited to compete against each other for one of four titles of the night.
A judge’s panel made up of Stroll on the Square’s top five sponsors was before the event to have their cups filled with red wine and tables crowded with bite-sized treats. The judge’s tent consisted of Kevin Couch, Leslie Gunn, Jamie Gladen and Melida and Tom Ailshire. Managing the table was Danielle Bernard, who handed out up to 22 different food samples to each judge.
“The cooking competition is what makes this wine stroll different from all other wine strolls,” Tooley said. “We invite restaurants and caterers to compete.”
While the five judges elected to either sample savory treats, sweet bites or both, 450 savory and 450 sweet bites were arranged around Downtown Sherman for strollers to sample as they explored the different venues present. The savory treats included beef wellington, BLT soup, duck crostini, fried mac and cheese, pulled pork taquito, red wine smoked short ribs, honey lime chicken bites, smoked brisket, smoked salmon, southern meatball and Texas cheesesteak, among others.
“Strollers are meant to hop around and sample one of each as they explore different businesses,” Tooley said, adding that each stroller was then invited to rank their samples to determine which was the best.
The awards for the night, announced at the conclusion of the event, included Judge’s Best Savory, Judge’s Best Sweet, Stroller’s Best Savory and Stroller’s Best Sweet. Therefore it fell on both the judges and the strollers to select the premium local restaurants and caterers, with everyone present allotted the chance to vote.
“It’s a very fun event, and we have six performances,” Tooley said.
Three stages were present around Kelly Square, with two performances slated to occur on each stage over the duration of the event. Booths were set up all around Kelly Square, with a variety of businesses and wineries showing up to pass out samples and chat with strollers. Among the many venues were Board & Brush, Marker Cellars and Lenoir-Sage Vineyards.
“We couldn’t do this without a huge army of volunteers,” Tooley said. “It take a lot of people to do this, and we appreciate so much everybody helping out.”