Article and photography by Hakeema Jones
What do you get when you have 2,500 people dressed in all white, carrying tables, chairs, and fine china all across the nation’s capital¦the second annual Washington, DC Diner en Blanc. This pop up picnic, born in Paris from an idea amongst a group of friends 27 years ago, has now spread over 6 continents and a multitude of countries and cities, including DC.
Last year’s inaugural event was held at Yards Park, an area which has recently undergone a massive renewal. Upon securing one of the coveted tickets to this exclusive event, Blancers, as I will call them, went about acquiring the proper attire and perfect picnic place settings for the soiree. Â Many also started thinking about where this year’s event could possibly take place. Â A part of the fun of Diner en Blanc is the secrecy. Â The date of the event is unknown until approximately a month or two in advance and the location¦ made known upon arrival.
If you happened to be in the Chinatown, Eastern Market, Union Station areas or anywhere in between Saturday afternoon, you saw throngs of people dressed in their finest white attire pushing carts and wagons filled with items to ensure a great night. Â Many stopped and asked the Blancers if they were a part of a huge wedding or was there some major event happening that they weren’t made aware of. Most of the inquisitive left with a little more knowledge of the event; the vast majority were pulling out their smartphones to find out how they could be a part of next year’s event.
So¦on to this year’s location which happened to be on the grounds of the Carnegie Library.Â Sitting directly across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on one side and the newly constructed CityCenter on the other. Blancers had a beautiful backdrop of lush trees, city skyscrapers and the elegance which is the Carnegie Library itself. Â There were rows upon rows of white linen draped tables, creatively made tablescapes, some Parisian inspired eats, and even a couple of white feather headdresses and lace-adorned fascinators.
The beginning of the event was signaled by the waving of the white dinner napkins, signifying all tables had been set and dinner was to begin. Â It was not uncommon to see items being shared amongst complete strangers and budding friendships being made over the breaking of bread. Â Blancers were able to enjoy the sounds of a live band as they partook in the feast they prepared for the evening and sipped on Apothic wine. The next part of the night was made known by the lighting of the sparklers, which meant dinner was now over and the party was just now really getting started. The DJ played tunes which had the majority of the thousands of Blancers dancing right on the steps of the Carnegie.
If you were to ask anyone there that night, there was something magical in the DC air that night and a great time was had by all.Â For those wanting to grab one of the highly sought-after tickets for next year’s event, just head on over toÂ http://washington.dinerenblanc.info/ and if you want to catch up on what you missed this past Saturday, check out the hashtags on social media at #dinerenblanc and #dinerenblancdc.
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!!