|Guests at the Diner en Blanc 2012 event in Lytle Park wave white napkins, signifying the start of dinner.|
On Saturday, September 7, more than 1,500 guests from neighborhoods across the city, dressed head to toe in white, will arrive in a secret location for what is known as the world’s largest “secret” dinner party – Le Diner en Blanc. Each couple will bring elegant picnic dinners, wine, champagne, chairs and a small table for two. Over the course of the evening, friends and strangers will dine and celebrate amid live music and dancing, replete with festive white balloons. Visually breathtaking moments include the waving of cloth napkins to mark the beginning of the dinner, as well as the lighting of sparklers to let participants know they are free to circulate, mingle and dance. When it is time to leave, guests pack up their crystal, dinnerware and tables, pick up their litter and head into the night leaving behind no sign of their elegant revelry.
This global phenomenon began in Paris, France a quarter century ago and has made its way across the globe to more than 40 cities, including our very own. This year’s event marks the second annual Diner en Blanc for the Queen City.
Cincinnati event organizer and Co-Founder, Bill Baumann, says, “We were inspired to bring this event to Cincinnati after seeing wonderful photographs of the Paris Diner en Blanc with 1,000’s of people gathered in the plaza of the Louvre and in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The history of Diner en Blanc, the gathering of people from many neighborhoods, and that it is held in a ‘secret’ location in the city inspired us to wonder how spectacular a Diner en Blanc could be in Cincinnati.”
The true magic behind this elegant midsummer night’s dream is the quintessential human connection that is formed when people gather together in a community of food, spirits and celebration.
“Guests actually create Diner en Blanc. They plan and conceive their picnics and tables, often with many friends, weeks in advance. It’s really the ’journey’ there in preparing for the evening, and then the magic of Diner en Blanc with music, lights in trees, and the community of people from all over our city sharing a meal together in a beautiful, unexpected place,” says Kate Baumann, Co-Founder and Co-Host.
What are the key features of the event?
• Dîner en Blanc is quite different from other special events. The seating layout on the public site is very specific and the site chosen is typically in one of the most beautiful parts of the city where diners can “see and be seen.”
• Guests who attended last year will automatically receive an evite in late July for this year’s event. For others to participate, guests must be invited by an attendee/member from last year or sign-up on the official website’s waiting list to receive an evite in early August.
• Once confirmed, each guest’s participation becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as the event goes ahead rain or shine.
• Colour of attire and table setting: white only.
• Participants arrive and depart by chartered bus, thus enabling the pop-up picnic aspect of the event.
• Guests leave with their belongings, leftovers and litter, leaving the place as clean as it was when they arrived.
• The price is $30.00 per person plus a $5.00 per person Dîner en Blanc membership fee.
What must guests bring?
• A table, two (white) chairs.
• A picnic basket comprising quality menu items and a china dinner service including
proper stemware and flatware.
• Wine or champagne. Beer and hard liquor are prohibited.
• Participants must wear white and be dressed elegantly.
• Originality is encouraged as long as it is stylish and tasteful.
Event hosts expect this year’s event to be bigger and better than last year, when 1,100 guests attended at Lytle Park.
”We are also thrilled that several local businesses will be teaming up with us to bring an even richer and fuller experience to our Diner en Blanc participants this year. We are looking forward to announcing these exciting partnerships in the next couple weeks,” says Bill Baumann.
Those interested in joining Dîner en Blanc in Cincinnati are encouraged to sign up quickly via www.cincinnati.dinerenblanc.info since space is limited.
To better understand the reasoning behind the event’s guidelines and regulations, we encourage you to visit the official website and Facebook page to view images and videos from last year’s event. A link to the video from 2012 Cincinnati Diner en Blanc can be seen here. Get inspirations for your Diner en Blanc adventure on Pinterest.