Thursday night I and my trusty adventurer Kimberly set off on a secret adventure. An adventure we had been planning for weeks with preparations for the Diner en Blanc.
If you haven’t heard of it, well that’s probably because you weren’t supposed to. The event was pretty secretive and if you did find out it was probably by accident. Diner en Blanc originated in Paris over 25 years ago by François Pasquier who wanted to have an outdoor picnic with friends and asked them to wear white so they could easily be identified. This impromptu party has now turned into an extravagant event that in Paris can gross 10,000 people.
Now no longer a picnic amongst friends, there are a strict set of rules that must be followed in order for participation some of which are:
- Everyone must be in white, all white (not cream) dinner attire
- You must bring your own table, chair, table cloth, flatware, silverware, napkins – all white
- No plastic
- Leave the place as you came to it.
As for Boston, this was our first go at it and to be honest I was really nervous. I had no idea if anyone was going to show up, if it was just a cruel joke to see if we’d actually think to show up. When me and my trusty partner showed up at our South Station destination we were relieved to see so many people waiting just as we were. We were checked in, and then waited a while for people to head over. We saw the most innovative contraptions to hold the items we were told to bring, an all white Igloo carrier that was super sleek; home constructed dollies; and who knew there were so many varieties of tables in a bag?
Around 7:00 we started moving towards the South Station T, that’s when the test of wills and anticipation came. We were told we were going only one stop and I was shocked that we weren’t going to the Esplanade as I had previously envisioned. We kept trying to figure out where it was and even when we were told to get out at the Seaport, we still were unsure of exactly where it was going to be? The World Trade Center? A hotel garden?
Above ground was when we started to realize the magnitude of what we had undertaken. Lines of people dressed in white flowed into one and the waiting was almost unbearable! Not to mention the fact that we were carrying all of our stuff and it was getting heavy!
Finally our line was called to head to the final destination. We had been told a table number and to be in line with the people in front of us. And lo and behold we were there! Couthouse Park over looking the harbor! Round soft colored lights adorned the trees. The stage area played cello music, with lit panels that slowly changed colors. And in a matter of 15 minutes, everyone had set up and were ready to dine. All the hard work and preparation over the past weeks (buying plates, renting chairs….) finally culminated in this amazingly beautiful setting. The weather proved to be in our favor as it was a warm and clear night.
The tradition of waving the napkin in the air as the start of dinner was upheld and it was quite a sight seeing the 200 people in my section wave their napkins high.
There was no speaker, or director that made any sort of announcement, the program just progressed as the night progressed, which I found to be a little disconcerting (I’m a planner), but the organizers seemed to know what they were doing because each phase of the dinner continued on.
The music selection changed from classical to French when C’est si Bon came to the stage to give us the French flair. Our neighbors let us know there was much more to see and we quickly went down towards the water and found that the party went the length of the park with elaborate long tables and standing soft lit globes. There were over 700 people! The sheer magnitude of everyone coming together in the premise of just having a good time, made a profound impact on me.
After our dessert the DJ kicked it up a notch with today’s and classic hits and we were out on the dance floor HARD…. Maybe it was the relief of finally making it to our destination, or just the excitement of having so many people around, but there was certainly something in the air and I was sore and winded the next day.
What an amazingly incredible night!
If you’d like to get on the waiting list for next year know you are in for quite a commitment, but it will be worth it in the end – for more information click here!