In its eighth edition in Philadelphia, Dîner en Blanc took over Boathouse Row with a sea of people 6,000 strong dressed head-to-toe in white. They began making their way to the surprise location with tables and chairs strapped to their backs, and picnic baskets, white tablecloths, and elaborate centerpieces in tow. Phones were at the ready for the inevitable Instagramming.
This year’s event was up 500 people from last year’s Dilworth Park dinner. And it’s a long way from the city’s first Dîner in 2012, which had 1,300 people splashing wine and champagne around Logan Circle. As they have every year, 2019 tickets sold out, at their highest rate yet: $113 for a two-person spot.
“Every year, we meet someone new, which is the whole idea behind it,” said Lora Lewis of Germantown, joining her husband for their sixth Philadelphia Dîner en Blanc in a white bolero jacket, mid-length tool skirt, and mad-hatter-style top hat. “We’re all there with one common goal, to have a lovely evening, and it makes you really proud of your city.”
What began in 1988 as a meetup of mutual friends in a park in Paris — the guests wore white so they could spot each other — has ballooned into a global affair with events spanning from Trinidad to Tokyo.
Previous Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia locations include Franklin Square, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, South Broad Street, the Navy Yards, and the John F. Kennedy Boulevard Bridge between 30th Street Station and Center City.