By: Mariel Carbone
May 3, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV)-- Locals interested in attending or hosting a dinner for next month's Longest Table can now sign up online.
Mayor Andrew Gillum made the announcement Wednesday afternoon. The next dinner is set for Sunday, June 11 at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to again, another enthusiastic response from this community,” said Gillum. “My guess is that there will be some (talk of) politics, there will be some ‘what are your ideas for making Tallahassee a better community,’ maybe there will be some curiosity around how different folks live, thrive and survive.”
The Longest Table will be held as an "in-home" edition, with small groups of six to eight people sharing a table for dinner and sharing conversation inside the homes of residents, as well as at local restaurants and public spaces throughout the community.
New this time, organizers will use a software algorithm to make sure each table is as diverse as possible. Ryan Kopinsky, a Florida State student working to earn his doctorate in robotics, created the algorithm. It uses various data points from gender, race, ethnicity, age and location to create table settings for each dinner.
"We want to have the dinners be as diverse as possible because then the conversations are as diverse as possible,” said Kopinsky. Then you get to meet new and exciting people that have different opinions. But you'll realize they're more alike than unalike. Which is a great thing."
The Longest Table first launched back in 2015. The first event included an uninterrupted table along Park Avenue and drew 400 people. The second one was an in-home version, drawing about 800 people to more than 100 intimate dinners throughout the city. And the most recent brought 1,000 residents out to a dinner along FAMU Way,
Since the launch, various cities throughout Florida, as well as across the country have held their own versions of the Longest Table.
To register, visit LongestTable.com. The deadline to sign up is May 31.