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Tri-City Recap: Diner En Blanc

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As summer comes to an end, there is still lots to look forward to. Among the events we look forward to is the most secretive party of them all, Diner En Blanc. Once a year, thousands of strangers in 79 cities across 28 countries sneak off early from work and await a highly anticipated email with a secret location for this a pop-up, fancy outdoor dinner party, in which everything from the attire to the floral arrangements must be the purest shade of snow white Diner En Blanc is the white party that puts P. Diddy’s famed event in the Hamptons in the ‘90s and 2000s to shame.

Now almost 20 years old, the annual affair began in Paris. It has since spread across the world over the last two decades, and has been present for years in D.C., Chicago, and New York. Though technology surrounding the event has certainly changed over the years, the principles fueling this fantastic event have not: guests continue to gather at a secret location for the sole purpose of sharing a gourmet meal with old and new friends in one of their city’s most beautiful public spaces. Each city has a committee of dedicated and passionate local organizers who fell in love with the concept and wanted to continue the tradition in their respective cities. (Read our interview with organizer Sandy Safi here.)

This year, the same as every, the Bitches in New York, Chicago and Washington put on their Sunday best to schlep their stuff and join in the merriment. Carrying tables and chairs, plus a perfect picnic dinner, we joined the thousands of other individuals in trekking through neighborhoods to the secret location.

It’s quite the sight to see, and this year was no exception. The secret location is always somewhere fabulous and aims to highlight the beauty that each city has to offer. Guests enjoy live jazz music, sparklers, the infamous napkin twirl at sunset, followed by live music and drinking and dancing under the stars. Not to mention all the breathtaking scenes and photo opportunities.  Here’s our breakdown of the 2017 festivities in each of our cities.

Photo Credit: Elaine Miller

Chicago

In Chicago, approximately 3,600 individuals attended the event at the secret location, the Theater on the Lake. Located on a northern beach on the city, the Theater on the Lake provided spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. Chicagoans did not let the surprisingly chilly weather stop them from a good time. Despite temperatures in the 50s, guests dressed up and partied like it was the heat of summer. The event was popular—and many missed out: more than 15,000 people were on the Chicago waiting list, unable to secure a spot.

Guests traveled on busses from 18 locations across the city, and trekked across Lincoln Park and Lake Shore drive to arrive at the designated location. During the evening over 4,000 sparklers were used and more than 1,800 bottles of wine were consumed; now that’s a party! With a stunning view of the sun setting behind the city, we danced the night away to music from the New Orleans jazz band and the awesome DJ spinning tunes.

Photo Credit: Eric Vitale

New York

With more than 60,000 people on the waitlist for a coveted spot to attend one of the most famous events in the city, over 5,200 people attended Diner En Blanc in New York City this year, its seventh year in NYC. This year’s secret location was Lincoln Center. Clad in all white, attendees rushed to the destination armed with tables, chairs, and French-inspired fare.

Guests continued this epic tradition by setting up shop and turning Lincoln Center into a sea of white. Some brought their own fancy spreads, while others opted for a special dinner prepared by none other than famed celebrity chef Todd English. New Yorkers danced the night away to music by jazz pianist Eric Lewis and singers Samantha Jeffreys and Andrea Chinedu Nwoke. Additionally there was a fabulous performance by the Brooklyn United Marching Band. The sunset over the city, and the lit up fountain at the Lincoln Center provided the perfect backdrop for the evening and made for a truly magical event.

D.C.

Over 4,500 people gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the Capitol. In it’s fourth year in D.C, this location was the best so far–in our opinion. Nothing stops traffic quite like shutting down one of the most famous streets in the world. It was truly the perfect venue. It was D.C. Bitch Tess’ first Diner En Blanc, and she had high expectations. Everything was so organized it went so smoothly how guests set up and enjoyed themselves. The famous napkin waving signaled it was time to eat–we dined on the best Greek food from Mike Isabella and sipped rosé and Champagne. The signature sparklers cued everyone that the tame part of the night was over and that the dancing and partying could commence. The face painting, photo booth, and band kept the masses perfectly entertained. It was a lovely night that everyone should experience at least once.

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