Dine Alfresco with 2500 Friends: Diner en Blanc returns to Vancouver

Photo credit: Maurice Li | Flickr

Photo credit: Maurice Li | Flickr

Are you ready to “recall the elegance and glamour of court society”?

Then get out your dress whites: the second instalment of Diner en Blanc is coming to Vancouver, Aug. 22.

The unique gathering brings together thousands of people, all dressed from head to toe in white, for an elegant, outdoor dinner.  Guests bring their own white chairs and folding tables and white tablecloths, as well as their own picnic baskets with self-catered dinners packed inside.

And here’s the kicker: In flash-mob style, the location of the event remains secret until just minutes before the dinner starts.

Last year’s Diner en Blanc ended up taking place at Jack Poole Plaza adjacent the Vancouver Convention Centre.  1,200 people turned out for the sold-out event.  The evening started with everyone waving their white napkins, according to Mia Stainsby, who reported on the event for the Vancouver Sun.  Several hours later, it ended with guests lighting up sparklers to illuminate the night sky.  Among the more unusual outfits worn by attendees were white tuxedos, white togas and even a white flying nun ensemble.

Tickets for this year’s Diner en Blanc ($30 per person; $35 with bus transport) go on sale some time this week. (Like many aspects of Diner en Blanc, ticket sales are shrouded in mystery and a bit of confusion.)  The good news is that organizers have expanded the event to accommodate 2,500 guests this year.  The bad news is there are already 12,000 people registered on the waiting list.

Attendees from last year get first dibs.  Remaining tickets are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, with everyone on the waiting list notified by email.

If you don’t fancy bringing your own picnic basket, you can also opt for the catered dinner this year.  For a surcharge of $25 or $50 (depending on meal options), guests can enjoy a dinner prepared by none other than Vancouver celebrity chef David Hawksworth.

Rumours are already stirring about the secret location of this year’s dinner.  Organizers have let slip that the venue will be accessible by yacht.  That means the final candidate has to be a waterside location capable of accommodating 2,500 people.  Any guesses?

Diner en Blanc originated in Paris a quarter-century ago.  Today, Paris hosts the world’s biggest Diner en Blanc, drawing 15,000 participants every year.  Meanwhile, the concept has spread to more than a dozen cities around the world, including Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary in Canada.

Did you attend Diner en Blanc last year?  How was it? 

For more updates of happenings in Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.  

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5 Responses to Dine Alfresco with 2500 Friends: Diner en Blanc returns to Vancouver

  1. Shimmy

    You bring your own table, chairs and food and its costs $30? Am I missing something?

  2. Valerie

    Last year’s DeB in Vancouver was spectacular and we also attending this year’s in Victoria which was amazing as well …really looking forward to Aug 22nd!!!

  3. oc

    What exactly are you paying $30 for?? To be an “exclusive”event where you dress in white & bring your own stuff?? You know yoi could get your own group of friends & do it for free? Picnic at Stanley Park anyone?
    Well i guess this event is aimed at snotty people who think/need to be exclusive?

    • I believe the ticket price includes sparklers and other items.

  4. Valerie

    The $30 includes the group transportation, the evening’s entertainment, lighting, music/PA systems etc …as well as, yes, the sparklers.
    And, the choice is one made by those wanting to be a part of a bigger event and is not at all about being snotty or exclusive …it’s just a chance to have fun in a very different setting and grouping of people that you might not otherwise get to interact with and enjoy the company of.