The Big Table: World’s Largest Potluck returns to Iroquois Park September 15 to celebrate city’s diversity

August 13, 2019

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. 15 from 5-7 p.m. Last year, more than 1,500 people participated in the event, and organizers this year will be setting up for 2,000 attendees. 

The third 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 eight 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.

“Louisville is a welcoming city and a compassionate city, and we are excited to continue The Big Table tradition where we are able to come together and celebrate inclusion and diversity,” said the Mayor. “Whether you grew up in Germany or Germantown, Pakistan or Parkland, India or Iroquois Park, you’re a part of one community, and The Big Table has a place for you.”

Organizers are again hoping to break a world record, but this year’s event is most focused on encouraging conversation and meeting new people. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest potluck was attended by 3,264 people in India.

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, like civic dinners and talking circles that face issues head-on, to weave in the fabric of our community,” he said.

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 250 Table Host volunteers are needed for this event.

New this year, residents who play an instrument are invited to bring their instrument and join in a post-dinner global music jam. Pick-up music venues will be arranged along the event area to continue facilitating connections during event cleanup.

“There is no central stage; 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. 15 on social media and the event registration page.

Registration is strongly encouraged. For more information and event registration, visit www.thebigtable502.com or sign up on the Facebook event page, The Big Table 2019: The World’s Largest Potluck.