WOW oh WOW…I attended the Le Diner en Blanc event. It was an AMAZING evening. If you happened to have been downtown and saw large groups of people walking, wearing white, carrying tables, chairs and picnic baskets they were likely headed to the secret location! Le Diner en Blanc is a worldwide event, spanning five continents, in which people flash-gather in a public space and set up a temporary, chic dining area. The concept was started in 1988, 27 years ago, when Frenchman François Pasquier invited a group of friends to an elegant outdoors dinner, only revealing the public location at the very last minute. The principles of the event are, for guests who are dressed head to toe in white, to enjoy quality food, accompanied by wine and good company. The event has grown to be hosted in over 50 cities, with up to almost 15, 000 people gathering for the flagship event in Paris. Only a select number of participants who have previously signed up are made privy to the location the day of the dinner, and generally converge in an iconic city location. It was indeed a magical evening.
They do not tell you where you are going, they do assign you a meet-up location and you and your group just start heading out, you may walk, you may take a trolley, the El, or the bus to the location BUT you have no idea where you are going (the suspense added to the excitement of the evening)! The group I was in started at the Langham Hotel, we walked south-bound across the Chicago River getting odd stares from onlookers and questions like “are you going to a wedding, is this a flash mob?” as we carried all of our dining items up the El train steps we were trying to guess where on earth were we going?! I must admit for a group of people we had just met we were all in this together! We all pitched in to help one another get our stuff up and down the stairs as we exited the El platform and headed west we were looking and still trying to guess where we were going. When we approached Dearborn and saw the other guests setting up we found our party location for the evening! FEDERAL PLAZA!!!
It was a night filled with music, laughter, excitement, food, wine and making of new friends! Friends that did not attend asked me was it worth carrying all of our stuff around and the secrecy of the location and I tell them YES and I am already looking forward to next year’s event!!