Enjoying Lunch With 500 People on a Highway
On Sunday October 4 between 1 and 4 PM the Innerbelt Freeway in Akron (Ohio State Route 59) was closed. 500 residents from different neighborhoods were invited to share a meal together at a 500 foot long table.
In 2016 the car traffic of the Innerbelt will be permanently closed due to underutilization, which makes the road available for other uses. On October 4 the traffic was temporarily suspended. The idea of the artist Frank Hunter was to get 500 guests of 22 neighborhoods sitting at one table, creating a space where locals come together and share their stories and ideas for improvement of their neighborhoods, as well as new potential functions for the highway in the future. To keep the conversation going, neighbors can share their ideas on Neighborland.
For the main meal, signature dishes from each of the 22 districts were collected. The recipes were printed on custom stoneware plates which were used at the community meal, creating a unique way to connect the people from different neighborhoods in Akron. As an extension of the meal, each one of the 500 guests was allowed to take one of the plates home.