Organizers expand Love Where You Live Challenge

An outdoor community dinner meant to support diversity in Columbus is among the new features of an annual challenge event taking place next month.

Organizers of Engage Columbus hope to have 500 people attend the community style dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 17 on Fifth Street between Franklin to Lafayette streets as the organization concludes its annual Love Where You Live Challenge from Sept. 9 to 15.

A family-style dinner with food from various local restaurants, including vegetarian options, will be offered, said Lara Hodson, program manager at Engage Columbus. Hodson said the occasion is meant to connect individuals with different backgrounds.

Engage Columbus is requesting a $5 donation for the dinner that will include two entrees, an appetizer and a dessert to guarantee a seat.

“It will be fabulous to see people having dinner together,” Hodson said. “It’s supporting diversity through food, fun and conversation.”

This year’s challenge will send individuals to various locations listed on a bingo card, said Hailey Hennessy, volunteer resource manager with Engage Columbus.

The challenge, now in its third year, was previously conducted in June but was moved to September to tie in with Exhibit Columbus, which opens Aug. 26 and runs for three months, Hennessy said. The exhibits will be part of a live-action bingo card, meaning participants will be required to take a photo and post it on social media in order to fill five squares on their bingo card.

The challenge drew 300 people a year ago on one day, so organizers are hoping to see at least 500 people participate this year. The event is open to all ages and families.

Prizes will also be given out for participants who complete the challenge, including include YES Cinema tickets, gift cards and three grand prizes that include a one-night stay at Hotel Indigo, a one-night stay at The Inn at Irwin Gardens and four rounds of golf at Otter Creek Golf Course.

Registration soon will be available on Engage Columbus’ website for the challenge and the dinner, Hennessy said.

If you go

What: Love Where You Live Challenge and community dinner table

Where: Challenge includes various locations in Columbus; community dinner will be held  on Fifth Street between Franklin and Lafayette streets

When: Challenge will run Sept. 9-15 and is free to the public. A community dinner table gathering will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 17 with a $5 donation requested.

More information: Visit or call 812-375-0708

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or