Santa Barbara Community Shares Dinner at ‘Our Common Table’ Gathering

Release Date: September 6,2018

Communal meal, aimed at 'bringing people together,' stretched along a full block of State Street downtown

By Brooke Holland, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @NoozhawkNews | September 6, 2018

People eating on State Street in Santa Barbara.The Santa Barbara community turned out in force Thursday night for the ‘Our Common Table’ gathering downtown. The 1200 block of State Street was closed to traffic for the event. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

A big communal table seating hundreds of residents dominated the 1200 block of State Street in downtown Santa Barbara Thursday evening during the "Our Common Table" gathering. 

Guests at the outdoor-dining event sat beside friends on a night out, visitors from out of town, first responders and families.

“It’s a fabulous turnout,” said Kate Schwab, marketing and communications director for Downtown Santa Barbara. “It’s bigger than I thought it would be, and it’s awesome.”

The Lois & Walter Capps Project, in partnership with the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization and the city of Santa Barbara, shut down State Street, between Victoria and Anapamu streets, for about two hours to host the potluck dinner.

The sole purpose of the event is community building, Lois Capps, who helps organize the communal dining experience, told Noozhawk.

“The goal is in itself, and the goal is not for some other agenda,” Capps said. “The agenda is bringing people together. No speeches, (and) no cost.”

Capps said she enjoys the “people who are coming,” to the event, adding that she’s “excited to see the way it’s received, and people have said ‘we should do this more often.’”

The community get-together featured live music in front of the Granada Theatre, and dining options included area vendors, or residents brought their food to eat.

Sitting nearby the Santa Barbara Celadon House retail store and munching on dinner, Pam Gunther brought organic apples to share.

“We see people we know, and we are talking with them — we should do this again,” said the 18-year Santa Barbara resident. “We come down here for the special parades like Old Spanish Days and the Summer Solstice Parade, but nothing like this where we are just sitting, visiting and eating together. It’s nice.”

Jennifer Bochsler, a Santa Barbara resident since 2009, said she approves of the temporary street closure on State Street.

“It’s a sweet feel to have State Street being pedestrian,” Bochsler said. “This brings a little bit of energy to a small town.”

Members of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Barbara City Fire Department, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and Santa Barbara Police Department also were in attendance.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at

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