A little before 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon Kristen Griger was standing in the middle of Cooperstown’s Main Street near the intersection of River Street. Stretching out behind her were several folding tables that were lined up end-to-end. The tables ran down the middle of Main Street, spanning the entire block between Fair and River streets.
As Griger talked, a car that had just made its way down the east side of Lake Otsego rolled to a stop next to her.
“What’s going on?” the man in the passenger seat called to Griger.
“We’re having a community potluck dinner tonight on Main Street at our gigantic dinner table,” Griger explained. “Everyone’s welcome. You just bring a dish to share.”
The concept of having a potluck dinner was generated a few months ago during one of Growing Community’s monthly meetings.
“This idea came from M.J. Harris, who came to one of our first meetings,” Rebecca Weil said. “We said, ‘What is everyone’s ideas for things to do with local harvest?’ and she said, ‘A table down Main Street for dinner.’”
“It was a little dream,” Harris said, recalling the meeting. “A little fantasy. It became a reality thanks to Growing Community. They just took hold of it.”
Harris said an article she had seen in a magazine was the catalyst for the idea.
“I just thought in this day and age we need to kind of build community again,” Harris said. About the same time, another group in Cooperstown had begun having meetings to discuss the idea of having an end-of-the season event that would draw village residents back to downtown.
“I saw Kristen (Griger) this summer and she said, ‘We have this idea’ and I said, ‘Well, we have this idea. What do you think about incorporating it?’” Mayor Jeff Katz recalled. “Growing Community was willing to be a part of it, and I’ve got to say over the past week this is what people have been talking about. I’m really happy they joined in this weekend.”