Ankit Shah’s birthday party is coming up — and he wants everyone in San Francisco to celebrate with him.
On Saturday, August 30 from 1 to 4 p.m., Tea With Strangers will be hosting a mass outdoor birthday party with music and food at Dolores Park for anyone with a birthday between June and September.
“It’s a BYO birthday party,” said Shah. “My hopes are that we can create arbitrary reasons to celebrate people, even when it’s not their birthday, because, why not?”
Founded by Ankit Shah, Tea with Strangers is a website in which people in San Francisco can sign up for tea times and have two-hour-long conversations in small, intimate groups. Shah and his twenty volunteer hosts in San Francisco have met hundreds of people this way.
According to Shah, the venture is its “fledgling stages,” and will soon expand to ten other major cities including Boston, Washington D.C., Portland, Chicago and Los Angeles. The target market for Tea With Strangers is “roughly seven billion people” and counting, explains Shah.
“It’s a community of strangers that’s down to let each other know that they’re down to spend time with each other in a meaningful context,” said Shah. “We, as humans, crave connection, but we also need permission to connect meaningfully with one another. What Tea With Strangers will be is a form of permission for people to engage with one another. ”
According to Shah, the big birthday party is a “way to create intimate conversations en masse” and one of the major events he has planned for Tea with Strangers. Other events slated for this year include biweekly “stranger happy hours” at Samovar Tea Lounge during the months of September and October.
So far, 90 to 100 people have signed up and are committed to bringing a food or drink item for the mass birthday party. Shah expects 50 more people to attend.
And in case you were wondering — yes, there will be birthday cake.
“There will be several cakes and balloons and party hats,” said Shah. “There’s a lot of interesting potential when you can get people to celebrate various things that are good about being alive, and birthdays are one of them.”
For more details about the big birthday event, here’s the link.