Diner en Blanc is one of Philly’s most talked-about social events. Now in its fifth year, this exclusive pop-up picnic, with origins in Paris, translates to “dinner in white,” and attendees extend the theme to everything from their outfits to their picnic baskets to their table settings. On Aug. 18, more than 5,000 people will participate in the city's 2016 Diner en Blanc. We chat with event co-hosts, Natanya DiBona and Kayli Moran, about its history in Philadelphia and even get a few clues about this year’s location.
How did Diner en Blanc get started here?
Kayli Moran: The son of the event’s founder lives in Montreal and he decided to bring it to the United States in 2011. Around that time, it came to the attention of us in Philadelphia and so we looked into planning the event for its first year here in 2012.
Where has it been held in the past in Philly?
Natanya DiBona: Our first year was Logan Circle. Our second year was the JFK bridge with 30th Street station in the backdrop. Our third year was the Avenue of the Arts, also known as Broad Street, and last year was on the Marine Parade Grounds in the Navy Yard.
Now the event is in its fifth year. Why do you think it’s been so popular?
DiBona: I would say, for Philadelphians, there are several reasons why it has really been a big hit. There are really no other events like this, in the sense that it is a massive pop-up picnic that combines a little bit of an elegant dining experience that appeals to foodies. The adventure of getting there really appeals to people who want to do something different, and then, essentially, it is a massive outdoor party. And everyone is dressed in white!
What should we definitely put in our picnic basket?
DiBona: Wine opener [laughs]. That is always important. Anything you would add, Kayli?
Moran: I would say good food. I would say matches. Matches for the sparklers or for your candles.
Are there any particular food items that work really well for Diner en Blanc?
Moran: I would say any cheese works really well because you are nibbling a lot throughout the evening. When Natanya and I went to Montreal, we did pasta salad. We had deviled eggs. I would say a cold chicken works well, too.
Any new developments this year?
DiBona: In the fifth year we are reflecting a bit more. It’s a big anniversary so we are bringing back components of the events in the last four — [like] the first band, Hot Club Philly, that played on Logan Circle in 2012. We’re having the drumline. We try and program to the location, of course. Like with the Avenue of the Arts, we had ballet dancers and Mummers. But with this location we are putting in some nostalgia in there too.
Can you give us three clues as to this year’s location?
Moran: [Laughs] I guess three clues would be Philadelphia, nostalgic and I don’t know. I am looking at a picture of our layout right now...
Moran: Be prepared for everything!
Diner en Blanc will be held Aug. 18.
For more info, visit:dinerenblanc.info