Philadelphia. PA - All of Philadelphia was a buzz on Thursday evening, August 18th waiting to find out where the 5th Annual Dîner en Blanc 2016 would take place. At the last minute, the secret location was revealed to five thousand guests. All dressed in white, these guests made their way to the Philadelphia Art Museum where they set up tables and chairs along the steps and Benjamin Franklin Parkway in celebration of this year’s theme, Paris on the Parkway, celebrating the event’s Parisian roots. This mass picnic was a site to see. With guests all decked out in their finest, dining with white tablecloths, white roses, and more.
Over the course of the evening, guests experience the beauty and value of their city’s public spaces by participating in the unexpected. Le Dîner en Blanc recalls the elegance and glamor of high French society, and guests engage one another, knowing that they are taking part in a truly magical event.
There are no disruptions: no car traffic, no pedestrian traffic—only amazed and astonished looks from passersby observing the scene before them. And participants, like spectators, wonder whether it’s all not a dream...
In order to participate, guests must be a member or be sponsored by a member from the previous year, or they must sign up to official website’s waiting list.Once confirmed, each guests’ participation in the event becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as Dîner en Blanc is a rain or shine event.
The evening takes place in a crowded public place that was not designed for such a purpose. Guests wear all white, originality is always encouraged as long as it stays stylish and denotes taste. Additionally they are responsible for bringing a table, two chairs, a white tablecloth and napkins, dinner, and wine or champagne. Press enjoyed Apothic White and Red wine from California. Additionally catering options are available, this year’s catering partners for Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia included 33rd Street Hospitality Catering, Luke Palladino Catering (returning from last year), and Reading Terminal Market.
Guests arrive and set up, at 7:45 pm tables each wave their white napkins in the air to signify the start of dinner. Live music filled the evening air and colorfully lighted dancefloor with performances by acts like The Soul of Philadelphia, and Mad Beatz Drumline. Even artists of PAFA were painting live and students of the Philadelphia school of Circus Arts were performing for the guests entertainment. DJ Sean Smoove kicked off the evening sparkler lighting to Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”. Needless to say this year’s event was perfection, from the weather to the beautifully decorated table settings participating in the annual contest. Some guests chose ornate decorations, while others opted for a more simplistic touch.
Originally started 30 years ago with just a handful of friends by François Pasquier nearly 30 years ago, Le Dîner en Blanc® de Paris now assembles over 10,000 guest every year, with a record 15,000 people attending the 25th anniversary in 2013. The French capital’s most prestigious sites have played host the event over the years. Le Dîner en Blanc® began as a strictly word-of-mouth event. Today, it has grown to rely on the Internet and social media to communicate with its members and others who are curious about the event. Although the technology behind this fantastic event may have changed over the years, the principles fueling it have not; guests continue to gather at a secret location with the sole purpose of sharing a gourmet meal with good friends at the heart of one of their city’s most beautiful locations.
Overall the evening was nothing short of magical, from the secrecy to the awe inspiring site of a crowd of five thousand decked out in white dining on the Philadelphia Art Museum stairs, it was truly a unique experience that we hope will continue in Philadelphia for years to come.