• Devlyn Brooks

Moorhead and Dilworth's "Longest Table" event brings together dozens of residents over food

Dilworth and Moorhead residents gathered for the first-ever "Longest Table" event held at the Dilworth Community Center on Wednesday, June 12.

DILWORTH, Minn. -- Dozens of residents from Dilworth and Moorhead gathered on a cool, but beautiful summer evening on Wednesday, June 12, to exchange stories about life in their communities.

The event was held at the Dilworth Community Center, a vastly under-appreciated venue located in the heart of Dilworth.

The effort billed as “The Longest Table,” was a collaboration between the two cities and various other community-oriented organizations. Although similar events have been held in cities across the country, this was the first “Longest Table” event for these two communities. But, based on its success, organizers say it won’t be the last.

While about 180 people registered for the event, organizers said, turnout was a bit lower than that. Actual attendees was likely more in the 150 range, but still considered a success.

At the event, participants were assigned to random tables with residents from both cities, where they were prompted to answer the questions:

  • What brought you to your community?

  • What challenges does your community face?

  • What strengths does your community have?

And, of course, participants were fed a free meal that was provided by the organizers.

Organizers said that the aim of the night was: “Together we will discover both common ground and new ideas on working together, living together in our joined communities.”

The event was emceed by Dilworth City Administrator Petyon Mastera (right) and Moorhead Mayor Jonathon Judd (left).

The event was emceed by Dilworth City Administrator Petyon Mastera and Moorhead Mayor Jonathon Judd.

“So, as we come together tonight, this is a big deal for us,” Judd said in his opening remarks. “And as Petyon talked about, (this is about) coming together, breaking bread and having a conversation. That’s one of the reasons that I stayed up here from North Carolina because of Minnesota’s … quality of life that we have here. We are truly, truly blessed here, this part of the state, where we can sit down, break bread and have great conversations that bring us together.

Judd said that a recent news story ranked Minnesota No. 2 as one of the best states in which to live, and the report was based on factors such as affordability, economy, education, health, quality of life and safety.

“Events like this bring us together, and really enhances our quality of life in our cities, our communities and our neighborhoods,” Judd said. “So with that being said, neighbors, enjoy your conversations tonight; have a great meal, and let’s break some bread and come together.”

Being parking space near the Community Center was limited, participants were encouraged to park at the Axis Clinicals and take a MATBUS shuttle to the event. People who took advantage of the service were entered into a drawing to win a BBQ grill package worth $1,000.

Participants were also reward for coming by being entered into a drawing for one of 40 high-grade foldable tables that was given away at the conclusion of the event. The hope is that those who received a table will take them home and use them for a similar event in their neighborhood.

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