Food & Drink

Oly dines together

You're invited to a potluck Saturday. So is anyone and everyone in South Sound.

The event, A Table for Olympia, returns for its second year. The community picnic, inspired by events throughout Europe, is a chance for friends, families, neighbors and strangers to gather for a shared meal – at a table 200 feet long, or actually, 10 tables joined together.

“It will be a whole block long,” said Matthew Green of the Volunteer Center of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties, which is hosting the potluck along with the Olympia Action Network.

The event will again include live music, and there’ll be children’s activities too.

“We are going to have some fun kids stuff, and Wind Up Here is handling that,” said Jessica Leiderbach of Olympia Action Network. “They are going to do soda-pop geysers. They are going to do some games and have sidewalk chalk and bubbles.

“We want there to be a little bit of something for everyone.”

But first and foremost, the event – inspired by similar ones in Europe – is a party. “It is more about people talking and connecting and visiting with one another,” Leiderbach said.

“People were standing up visiting with each other or sitting down with their families,” said Camille Hodges of Olympia, who attended last year and plans to do so again this year. “I think it was great that we were just there to share food with our neighbors.”

Hodges brought blackberry cobbler to share.

New this year: a beer and wine garden and soft drinks for sale.

Again, there will be free artesian well water to drink.

Last year’s event was Olympia’s first, the idea of Mathias Eichler, who owns the housewares shop Einmaleins. Eichler was inspired by a similar event held in Brussels, Belgium.

“It’s really about community,” Eichler told the Olympian last year. “It’s about bringing people together and hanging out together and having a good time.”

“Last year, about 500 people came by over the course of several hours, and we expect probably about the same size,” Green said.

The tables and chairs will provide seating for 200 people, so organizers ask those attending to bring a camp chair if they have one.

“Last year, there were people standing around eating,” Leiderbach added, “and people took turns standing up and sitting down.”

They also ask everyone to bring a plate, cup and utensils. “We are trying to make it a zero-waste event,” Leiderbach said.

A TABLE for Olympia

What: The second community picnic, which takes place at one long table. Beverages will be for sale, including at a beer and wine garden. There also will be kids’ activities and entertainment, including the Olympia Youth Symphony.

When: 4-8 p.m. Saturday

Where: On Fifth Avenue between Washington and Franklin streets

Tickets: Free

Also: Bring silverware, plates, cups and food to share. You might also want to bring a camp chair.