LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (August 29, 2022) – Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that The Big Table, a hospitality event aimed at bringing people from all walks of life together to share food and chat, is returning to Iroquois Park on Sunday, September 11 from 5-7 p.m.
Each participant is invited to bring a dish, fruit, dessert or non-alcoholic drink to share with at least eight people. Participants are encouraged to bring a dish that reflects something about them or their family, as well as a recipe card. Tables, chairs, cooking utensils and plates will be provided by event sponsors, the Paula Schoenhoff Family Foundation, Lean into Louisville and the Louisville Metro Office for Globalization.
The event was last held in 2019 and attracted over 1,800 people. After a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Big Table returns this year with organizers preparing to host up to 2,000 attendees.
“Louisville is a welcoming city and a compassionate city, and we are excited to continue the tradition of the high table by coming together and celebrating inclusion and diversity,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Whether you grew up in Germany or Germantown, Pakistan or Parkland, India or Iroquois Park, you are part of a community and The Big Table has a place for you.”
Although organizers hope to once again break the Guinness World Record held by people in India, this year’s event is primarily aimed at encouraging conversation and meeting new people after the pandemic.
“Its purpose is to create greater community connections,” said Jud Hendrix, executive director of Interfaith Paths to Peace and co-creator of The Big Table. “We hope The Big Table will spur a variety of other creative events, like civic dinners and talking circles that tackle issues head-on, to weave the fabric of our community together.”
A unique aspect of The Big Table is the intentionality of having conversations. “On the surface, it’s a simple potluck. The intent, however, runs much deeper, hoping to create a space for Louisvillians of all faiths and backgrounds to come together to connect, especially at a time when our society has so many opposing views,” said Cathy Berkey, Executive Director and co-creator of La Grande Table.
In an effort to foster more intimate conversation and a depth of connection, attendees will be organized into tables of eight. Table Host volunteers will help seat attendees and work to ensure tables are filled with familiar and unfamiliar faces. Table hosts will also facilitate conversation and storytelling during the event. Approximately 250 table host volunteers are needed for this event.
Just like in 2019, residents who play an instrument are welcome to bring their instrument and participate in a global music jam after dinner. Pickup music locations will be laid out along the event area to continue to facilitate connections during event cleanup.
“There is no central scene; the magic of the event is in the conversations that happen at the tables,” Berkey said.
In the event of inclement weather, organizers will announce an event cancellation by 1 p.m. September 11 on social media and the event registration page.
Registration is strongly encouraged. For more information and to register for the event, register on the Eventbrite event page at http://thebigtable2022.eventbrite.com.