For those who never heard of Diner En Blanc, it might have been a curious sight to see couples and groups walking around dressed in white from head to toe, carrying picnic baskets, coolers, chairs, and portable tables. With a waiting list of over 30,000 people, only 4,500 lucky chosen few attended the annual pop-up surprise dinner location.
Started in France 27 years ago and spreading across the ocean to the United States, Diner En Blanc is a surprise dinner function where people dress in their finest white clothes for an evening of refined and boisterous fun.
Attendees of Diner En Blanc Philadelphia never know where the final destination will be held. That is a closely held secret that everyone holds sacred. The first stop was Broad Street between South and Lombard. There stood groups of finely dressed people all in white and it was quite the scene.
This year, Mother Nature decided not to cooperate with the organizers and it was very rainy and humid that day. That did not stop the revelers. There were very few grumbles and negativity. People just slipped on their clear convenience store ponchos, opened clear umbrellas or darling white parasols and carried on.
The second clue moved everyone to the AT&T station. For those who have not ventured down to South Philadelphia in a while, there was a moment of confusion. After referring to Google, it was soon realized that the AT&T Station is the new name of Patterson. So on to the second stop.
The uninitiated might have wondered what is with all the fuss and excitement of Diner En Blanc. Actually if felt like a futile attempt to herd cats. Lastly, the devoted received their final clue – The Philadelphia Naval Yard.
Here, everyone was allowed to set up their table but this is when the skies opened and the rain started to really fall. Did that hinder the festive nature? Of course not. After an hour, the field was a sight to behold. The empty naval field turned to an en vogue affair that would have reminded one of a scene from The Great Gatsby.
Music played, people dined and danced, and there were even a few wedding proposals. It was a event that delighted all the senses and made one feel that they were part of a unique occurrence.