Sign up now to be a part of the ‘Longest Dinner Table’

By Merja H. Lehtinen - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Thu., Aug. 18, 2011
Last year’s winning group, 'Road Trip,' was headed by Kristin Heckt (principal of TEMS) and Celeste Linnell. Photo courtesy of Mike Brezel. - Contributed Photo

The Longest Dinner Table will return to Evergreen Walk on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 5 to 10 p.m.

The annual event – held at Rockville Bank Park near L.L. Bean – raises money for the South Windsor Public Education Fund. Sitting at the Longest Dinner Table in Connecticut in years past has proven to be a fun-filled evening which benefits the community at large. It helps students optimize learning, and helps the community to defray expenses, according to this year's event chairperson and public school teacher liaison, Maryann McAndrew.

Although reservations are required, the organizers have accommodated a few last-minute walk-ins, but cannot guarantee seats will be available.

“When people pay their $25 donation, they are assured a seat at the table.  Attendees bring their own food and beverages, BYOB, and the organizers bring the table cloth, musicians, the tables and chairs. People bring picnic-style food baskets to eat or order at area local restaurants,” McAndrew said.

The Longest Dinner Table last year was actually 80 tables connected in a zig-zag formation. Other years, it has been one long, straight table.

In addition to people giving donations to join the dinner, a silent auction will be held as another way to raise funds. “We also have a table decoration competition, with awards going to the most creative, most elegant, most community-spirited, and a gold fork goes to most coveted award for the best overall table,” said McAndrew.

Last year the community raised about $15,000 to defray costs of public education needs. The money goes to teachers who apply for grants to support innovative ideas in their classrooms to improve and enhance educational opportunities for students. “We have purchased Smart Boards. We have had drummers perform in the schools, and we are putting in a garden on the rooftop of the high school,” said McAndrew. “We supported an outside garden classroom at the one of the elementary schools. We have purchased Kindles to use with reading specialists working with students.”

Last year, the health teachers applied for a grant to become CPR/AED trainers, so they could train others. This saved the town of South Windsor money.

There are many ways one can participate and help in this endeavor. One way is by attending the event on Sept. 24. To pre-register, call 860-644-4556. If you are not available to attend the event in person, a donation of any amount can be mailed to 84 Gail Lane, South Windsor, CT 06074. Supporters also may donate an item for auction or become a supporter at various levels. The Dessert, Main Course and Appetizer levels - from $1,000 down to $250 - include, depending on the level of the donation, up to eight tickets, a half-page ad in the event program, two reserved parking spaces and a tray of desserts.

For more information, or to register online, visit the website

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