ALBANY -- Organizers say tables are going fast for the third biannual "Dinner with Albany," which will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 29.
"We only have about 40 tables left," said Chelle Putzer, community services manager for the city. "We sold more tables by Sept. 1 than we did the last two Dinner with Albanys."
Those interested in reserving a table should go to the city's website at www.albanyca.org. The event is sponsored by the city, as well as Little Star Pizza, Solano Smile and Donkey and Goat Winery.
The event grew out of Albany's centennial in 2008. Organizers wanted an event that would bring the community together. What they came up with was something like a giant pot luck. About 300 tables are set up in the middle of Solano Avenue. Each table seats six, and reserving a table costs $30.
What's for dinner? Whatever you want. People are encouraged to bring their own food or get takeout from one of the local restaurants.
Putzer noted that the speeches are kept to a minimum in an effort to keep the focus on dinner with the community.
"We want the community to come together and have dinner together," she said. "That's really the spirit of the event. This is all about the dinner and sharing a meal."
For example, the city is sponsoring a Tweet Toast contest. At 6:45 p.m., the dinner bell will ring and the winning toast -- of no more than 140 characters -- will be made.
Go to the city's website, www.albanyca.org, where there is a submission form. The contest runs through Sept. 24, and the winner will be given a VIP table at the Dinner.
Entertainment will be provided by bluegrass legend Bill Evans and Bangers and Mash, from 7-8:30 p.m., on the main stage in front of the Albany Twin Theater.
A highlight is the table-decoration contest. Four categories are up for grabs -- most artistic, best use of recycled materials, "So Albany" and "Over the Top." In past years, little houses and street signs have been used to recreate Albany. And rumor has it, someone wore a chicken suit as part of the contest.
"People get pretty into it," Putzer said. "There's been some amazing table decorating."
New this year is the Magnolia Photo Booth and the Five Little Monkey's Family Game area. Later in the evening, there will be dancing in the streets.
Attendees are encouraged to walk or bike to the event. A limited number of parking spaces for those with disabilities will be available at the post office at 1191 Solano Ave.