• Sunday , 21 January 2018

Dressed in White, Diner En Blanc Treks to the Navy Yard

Story and photos by Dana J. Prophet / Photos by Lou Perri

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.

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Waiting for the first clue.

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.

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Made it to the second meeting place and excitedly moving on to the final destination.

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A sea of people dressed in white pouring out of the AT&T SEPTA Station.

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.

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A table in blue soon to be covered in white!

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A table ready and time to dig in.

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Everyone is in a hurry to set up.

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What rain?

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Beautiful smiles like this brightened the sky.

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.

Tables for the affair are beautifully setup.

Tables for the affair are beautifully setup.

A typical Diner En Blanc scene,  participants march to their section.

A typical Diner en Blanc scene, participants march to their section.

Kimberlee and Eileen, friends who participated in last year's event.

Kimberlee and Eileen, friends who participated in last year’s event.

Garces was amon caterers  as hostesses Claire, Marina, Amy and Christina serve Diner en Blanc participants.

Garces was among the caterers as hostesses Claire, Marina, Amy and Christina serve Diner En Blanc participants.

Sharon Johnson was a Diner en Blanc staffer.

Sharon Johnson was a Diner En Blanc staffer.

Deejay Sabeel, from Washington D  C. spins for the crowd.

Deejay Sabeel, from Washington D C. spins for the crowd.

Diner en Blanc staffers Craig and Jessica.

Diner En Blanc staffers Craig and Jessica.

Elizabeth, Vincent, and Claudia Roux, owner/designer, Petit Jardin, Philadelphia.

Elizabeth, Vincent, and Claudia Roux, owner/designer, Petit Jardin, Philadelphia.

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One arriving to the Naval Yard, participants quickly set up their table.

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A violist set the mood at this elegant event.

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It might be raining, but there is still fun to be had.

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Diner En Blanc staffers strike a pose.

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Dinner is over now it’s time to DANCE!

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It was an enjoyable adventure for newbies and the veterans.

A romantic table display allows personalities and candles to shine.

A romantic table display allows personalities and candles to shine.

Restaurateur Luke Paladino caeed Diner en Blanc for some that included chicken, salmon, and files.

Restaurateur Luke Paladino
catered Diner en Blanc for some that included chicken, salmon, and filets.

This adorable couple looks like they belong in the Navy Yard.

This adorable couple looks like they belong in the Navy Yard.

Many came dressed for the weather.

Many came dressed for the weather.

Pretty in white!

Pretty in white!

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A blue umbrella peaks out amongst all the white.

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A smart man wears brown shoes on a rainy day!

A glimpse of the Navy Yard during the day.

A glimpse of the Navy Yard during the day.

A vintage inspired couple smiles for miles.

A vintage inspired couple smiles for miles.

Quite a white ensemble for this dapper fellow.

Quite a white ensemble for this dapper fellow.

We spotted a pink umbrella too!

We spotted a pink umbrella too!

These ladies stayed dry and hydrated with - what else but white wine!

These media ladies stayed dry and hydrated with – what else but white wine!

Rebecca, Natalie, and Mark, served Apothic Wines, during the event.

Rebecca, Natalie, and Mark, served Apothic Wines during the event.

Two lovely ladies in white enjoy the event, rain or shine.

Two lovely ladies in white enjoy the event, rain or shine.

An adorable couple looks smashing in white.

An adorable couple looks smashing in white.

These two look right at home in white.

These two look right at home in white.

These ladies made the night their own.

These ladies made the night their own.

The all-white crew is coming in!

The all-white crew is coming in!

Rose and Jaquie were servers at Di Bruno Bros.

Rose and Jaquie were servers at Di Bruno Bros.

Some all-white fun going on right here.

Some en blanc fun going on right here.

Never let a little rain ruin a good thing!

Never let a little rain ruin a good thing!

A handsome couple gets ready for a good time.

A handsome couple gets ready for a good time.

Hands up to having a good time!

Hands up to having a good time!

This guy had a great idea with silver!

This guy had a great idea with silver!

A Diner en Blanc staffer, Lois, dresses for the occasion.

A Diner en Blanc staffer, Lois, dresses for the occasion.

Garces staffer Erinn is seen prior to the start of Diner en Blanc.

Garces staffer Erin is seen prior to the start of Diner en Blanc.

Allan Sheffield and Kelly Shellenberger will wed on September  6th, in center city.

Allan Sheffield and Kelly Shellenberger will wed on September 6th, in Center City.

This is one way to keep your honey bunny dry.

This is one funny way to keep your honey bunny dry.

 

 

 

 

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