The Longest Table, a community dinner meant to foster dialogue and friendship between up to 350 guests, is coming to Howard County.

The event has landed in cities from Dayton, Ohio, to Tallahassee, Fla., and seeks to build relationships between county residents by facilitating a meal between strangers. The dinner will be held at Howard Community College on Wednesday, June 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $15.


The menu includes salad, chicken fettuccini, breads and assorted desserts, and guests are allowed to bring their own food. The event will feature tables joined together to span more than 350 feet, said Christie Lassen, spokeswoman for the Howard County Library System, which is organizing the event.

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The library system hopes to gather county members for "facilitated discussions in a welcoming environment that purposely places people with friends they've not yet met," according to a news release.

The Longest Table is part of Choose Civility, the library system's initiative to enhance tolerance and respect in the community. Guests are not seated with their companions to encourage conversations with strangers.

"What we want is for people to come, get to sit down and have dinner with people they don't necessarily know," Lassen said, "and have some dialogue and some conversation about who we are as a community and where we want to go."

The event will take place during Columbia's 50th anniversary to embrace the vision Jim Rouse had of an inclusive planned community, the release said. Event sponsors include the Columbia 50th Birthday Celebration, United Way and #OneHoward, a series of dialogues about unity that County Executive Allan Kittleman created in November.

Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite. Sales end on June 21.