All are welcome to take a seat at this table

Nichole Luczak is going to need a big tablecloth.

The United Way of Bay County, headed up by Luczak, is hosting its second annual Longest Table at 5:30 p.m. Wed., Sept. 13. The event takes place at a dinner table stretching down the middle of Washington Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets.

Sponsors bought tickets to give to people in underserved populations within our community, ensuring the event represented the true diversity of the community. (Photo courtesy of the United Way of Bay County)The event encourages community members of all walks of life to come together and share a meal, says Michaela Garcia, the United Way’s Marketing, Communications, and Events Manager. 

Tickets are on sale now for the event, which includes music, games, drinks, food, and even ice cream.

“We want to highlight small businesses that are Bay City rooted, so all our vendors are from Bay City,” Garcia says.

The event includes centerpieces from Regent Floral & Mercantile, music by Empty Canvas Live, drinks from Tri City Brewing Company, a family-style meal from Old City Hall, and ice cream from Cream & Sugar Ice Cream Company. The State Theatre also is a sponsor.

The evening is about more than just good times and good food.

Garcia and Luczak hope to encourage conversations between people who might not otherwise meet. 

Tickets are $80 and $100 for individuals. Event sponsors also receive tickets.  Garcia hopes the sponsors distribute some of their tickets to people in underrepresented populations who might not otherwise attend. 

The United Way also is accepting donations from individuals who want to send underrepresented people to the event and ensure the guest list is diverse.

A drone captured the view from above during the first Longest Table event in 2022. (Photo courtesy of the United Way of Bay County)“This year, on our ticket pages, you can buy a ticket and donate a ticket to a community member,” Garcia says. “There’s also a section that says ‘I’d like to attend, but can’t afford to.’ “

To buy tickets and learn more about how to qualify for the donated tickets, visit the United Way website. 

Sponsorships are still available for the event, which raises money for programming that focuses on education, health, and income stability. Contact Garcia to learn about sponsorships.

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Read more articles by Kathy Roberts.

Kathy Roberts, a graduate of Central Michigan University, moved to Bay City in 1987 to start a career in the newspaper industry. She was a reporter and editor at the Bay City Times for 15 years before leaving to work at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Covenant HealthCare, and Ohno Design. In 2019, she returned to her storytelling roots as the Managing Editor of Route Bay City. When she’s not editing or writing stories, you can find her reading books, knitting, or visiting the bars of Bay County. You can reach Kathy at