The expanse of green lawn in front of Santa Barbara Junior High School is usually tranquil on the weekends, but it will be come alive, 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, with the sound of neighbors from the Eastside community as they gather to eat, socialize and listen to live local music at an event called Common Table Eastside.

Common Table is the name of what has become a series of events in the Santa Barbara area that started with an event at Montecito Union School in June 2018, followed by one on the 1200 block of State Street last fall, and events in Isla Vista, Carpinteria, and on the Mesa this year. Common Table Eastside is free and open to the public.

“No speeches, no program, no politics, just food, conversation, and community” is stated boldly on promotional material for the events.

“This is very simply an opportunity for many people of all backgrounds to sit down together at one long table,” said Todd Capps, executive director of the Lois & Walter Capps Project, a locally based nonprofit organization that started the Common Table events.

“There is no hidden agenda, no specific issue to debate or goal to achieve,” he said. “The purpose is a return to human connection, neighbor to neighbor, face to face, based on some of the most basic and joyful things that bind us — food and music.

“This leads to the many other things we are likely to discover — or remember —  that we have in common if given a chance to connect on a human level first.”

Attendees are asked to bring their own food, beverages (non-alcoholic), and utensils to the table. Common Table organizers encourage people to buy their food to-go from area restaurants and vendors, in support of local business.

Those who would like to attend Common Table Eastside can visit for more information.

— Sharon Byrne for Common Table.