Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that The Big Table, a welcoming event aimed at bringing people together to share food and conversation, is returning to Iroquois Park on Sunday, Sept. 16 from 5-7 p.m. Last year, more than 1,300 people participated in the event, and organizers hope to boost that number this year.
The annual event is hosted by The Big Table, with major support from the Global Human Project and the Louisville Metro Office for Globalization. Each participant is asked to bring a dish, fruit, dessert or non-alcoholic drink to share with at least six people. Participants are encouraged to bring a dish that reflects something about them, has a family story or personal significance, along with a recipe card. Tables, chairs, eating utensils and plates will be provided by event sponsors, but in case of an extra-large turnout, organizers encourage participants to bring a blanket and extra utensils.
Jud Hendrix, Executive Director of The Global Human Project and co-creator of the Big Table, said its purpose is to build greater community connections. “We hope the Big Table will spur a variety of other creative events to weave in the fabric of our community,” he said. “It’s simple. We’re inviting Louisville to be who we already are.”
In addition to encouraging conversation and meeting new people, organizers are hoping to break a world record. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest potluck was attended by 3,264 people in India. In order for The Big Table event to be in the Guinness record book, participants must be present from 5:45 – 6:15 p.m., and each participant must bring a dish or refreshment to share.
Mayor Fischer encouraged people to attend.
“This event started last year to welcome immigrants to our community. They are important contributors – filling jobs, starting companies and sharing their culture and heritage. At a time when our nation and world are so often divided, the Big Table gives us the opportunity to come together and celebrate the connections we have as fellow human beings,” the Mayor said. “We are proud to be a city of welcome, inclusion and compassion, and I encourage all Louisvillians to join in this event and break a world record.”
A unique aspect of The Big Table is the intentionality around having conversations. “On the surface, it’s a simple potluck. The intention, however, is much deeper, hoping to create a space for Louisvillians of all beliefs and backgrounds to come together in order to connect, especially in a time when our society holds so many opposing points of view,” said Cathy Berkey, co-creator of the Big Table.
In an effort to foster more intimate conversation and depth of connection, participants will be organized into tables of eight. Table Host volunteers will help seat participants and work to ensure tables are made up of familiar and unfamiliar faces. Table Hosts will also facilitate conversation and storytelling during the event. Approximately 450 Table Host volunteers are needed for this event.
“There is no central stage or entertainment schedule; the magic of the event is in the conversations that happen at the tables,” said Berkey.
In case of inclement weather, organizers will announce a cancellation of the event by 1 p.m. on Sept. 16 on social media and the event registration page.
Registration is strongly encouraged. For more information and event registration, visit www.globalhumanproject.net/the-big-table2.html