Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia/Facebook
Despite inspiring mixed reactions from our city’s particularly curmudgeonly residents, Dîner en Blanc will return to Philadelphia for a sixth BYO-everything, white-dress-only pop-up outdoor meal this summer.
And on June 6th, you can get a taste of what’s to come.
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Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia 2016. Photo | HughE Dillon
Last week Philadelphia’s fifth Dîner en Blanc event went off without a hitch on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as thousands gathered to celebrate the French tradition, and a few others took to social media to ask why in the world they would want to.
Some questioned the cost, or more specifically, where that money could elsewhere be spent. Others took issue with the dress code. Still others questioned the choice to purchase a ticket to an event that requires you to BYO-everything, including a chair.
Other corners of social media boasted a great time, and even a marriage proposal. The haters were seemingly outnumbered by those who attended and those who hoped to. Of 70 cities hosting events this year, Philadelphia is the only one to have implemented a lottery system for the waiting list, similar to the one used for the Broad Street Run, after their website crashed last year from an overwhelming number of registrants.
In the past five years Dîner en Blanc has rapidly spread around the globe, with volunteers hosting their own events in top-secret locations that showcase the most spectacular corners of their cities. And the haters? According to Sandy Safi, co-founder of Dîner en Blanc International, they all live in Philadelphia. Read more »
Photo | HughE Dillon
Dîner En Blanc Philly has garnered its fair share of controversy this year, in typical Philly fashion.
Last week, the city saw its fifth-annual DEB event, which has 50-year-old Parisian roots. If you don’t know the schtick by now, it’s as follows: One night a year, thousands of people wearing their finest whites flock to a surprise, last-minute location for a posh dinner under the stars, which they themselves are entirely responsible for providing. Tickets? $45 per person, and that’s if you manage to get past the ridiculously long wait list. Read more »
On Thursday night 5,000 people brought their own white tables, tablecloths, chairs and meals to take part in the 5th anniversary of Dîner en Blanc, a pop-up picnic and worldwide epicurean phenomenon. Local residents and friends Natanya DiBona and Kayli Moran saw the chic pop-up Dîner en Blanc take place in Paris and Montreal and, when it moved to New York in 2011, they wanted to be a part of it and thought it would be great in Philadelphia. Read more »
In 2014, Diner en Blanc Philadelphia was on the Avenue of the Arts. Photo by Johanna Austin
By year five, you should know what Diner en Blanc is: A posh pop-up dinner party in a public location that’s kept secret until just before the event begins. And since the event is tonight, by 7 p.m. your Instagram and Facebook feeds will reveal where it’s all going down — unless you’re one of the 5,000 who got notified by the organizers because you managed to score a coveted invite. How coveted? More than 30,000 signed up for the 2016 wait list. Read more »
Fernando Valle is a long-time supporter of Philadelphia’s Diner en Blanc, the popular annual all-white popup dinner party. We chatted with him about the LGBTQ history of the event and what to expect this Thursday.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with Diner en Blanc.
I’m originally from Mexico City and have been enjoying Philly since moving here in 2011. This year, I am one of the group leaders for Diner en Blanc. I have six amazing table leaders, and all together we are responsible in assisting 150 of the 5,000 guests who will attend the fifth edition of DEB in Philly. The table leaders ensure their group knows where to meet and what to bring. They also answer many questions. I was a table leader last year. Read more »
Diner en Blanc Philadelphia 2014. Photo by Johanna Austin
Whether you’re a Diner en Blanc devotee or devoted to hating on it, the preview party Tuesday night at Reading Terminal Market
will give you a peek at what all the fuss is about. Mostly, the fuss is about exclusivity, with a side of spectacle: Diner en Blanc, started in Paris in 1988, is an invite-only pop-up dinner party with thousands of paying guests, clad in all white, converging on a public space.
Philly’s first, five years ago, was at Logan Circle; last summer’s location at the Navy Yard was not as well received by attendees, but businesses seemed to prefer it to 2014, when several blocks of Broad Street in Center City were shut down.
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Cescaphe Event Group (CEG) and the hosts of Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia partnered for the second year to host a memorable New Year’s Eve party at CEG’s newest venue, the historic Water Works (640 Water Works Drive, Philadelphia). Revelers were invited to ring in the New Year with an evening of dinner, drinks and dancing to the Bill Handy Orchestra. This year’s theme was the Golden Age of Hollywood, complete with a red carpet, director chairs, and life-size cutouts of some of Hollywood’s glamour couples including Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburn from The Philadelphia Story. At the countdown to midnight there was a champagne toast, with confetti and balloons filling the room. Dancing and desserts continued till 2 a.m.
Photos after the jump »
Photo by HughE Dillon
Besides the rain, which no one but God could have helped, the main complaint I’ve been hearing about this year’s Diner en Blanc is the location—at the Marine Parade Grounds of the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Most of the grumbling is coming from attendees who had to hop on trains and shuttles to lug their Diner gear so far south. Then there was the fact that it was raining, which didn’t mix well with the Navy Yard’s grassy fields. One participant on philly.com shared that, “Last year was great because it was dry and on pavement and now we are on the rain and on grass. … Everyone [was] sinking and heels [were] sinking into the grass and mud.”
It’s funny if you think about it, because the tables have kind of turned. In previous years, location squabbles came from non-attendees who were pissed about road closures, like in 2014 when it was smack dab in the middle of the Avenue of the Arts. You just can’t satisfy everyone. But organizers are trying.
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