Guests at the invitation-only Diner en Blanc event wave their white napkins to signal the start of dinner on the roped-off streets from 3rd to 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue in northwest D.C. on Aug. 26. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

For the fourth year in a row, one of the District’s premier events brought together 4,500 people dressed in all white for a night of food and festivities.

Dîner en Blanc, a worldwide spectacle, stopped in D.C. on Saturday, Aug. 26, taking up several blocks of prime real estate on Constitution Avenue in the shadow of the Capitol.

The appeal of the all-white dinner is the flash-gathering of thousands in a public space with chic tables, chairs, table settings and a gourmet meal.

However, there are a few catches. First attendees have to provide everything themselves, including the food, table cloths, flatware and even napkins, all while following a strict code of conduct.

Secondly, you don’t exactly know where the soiree will be until minutes prior to its commencement.

The preparation seems like a ton of work, but with a waitlist of 20,000, Washingtonians apparently love the pomp and circumstance.

“A lot of people think it’s a pretentious uppity white dinner party, and they are entitled to their opinion,” Bryer Davis, co-host of Dîner en Blanc DC, told USA Today. “I would encourage people to actually look at the pictures and experience the event.”

Legend has it that Dîner en Blanc started as a supper club founded in Paris in 1988, when François Pasquier wanted to host a dinner party but didn’t have the space. He invited friends to a picnic at the Bois de Boulogne and told them to all wear white, so they could identify each other.

That dinner with friends almost 30 years ago spawned a cultural phenomenon spanning six continents.

The night goes like this: in line with the tradition of Dîner en Blanc, the waving of a cloth napkin signifies the beginning of the dinner and the lighting of sparklers concludes dinner and starts the party on the dance floor.

At the end of the evening, when the trumpet sounds, guests pack up all of their belongings, pick up all their litter and head into the night, leaving behind no sign of the elegant affair.

Looking to go next year? Well, unless you receive an invitation to this invite-only pop-up picnic, you have to join the waitlist of thousands with crossed fingers for your moment in all-white and a perfect photo op.

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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