Magical Mystery Tour- Le Diner en Blanc Cincinnati

written by Ilene Ross
photography by Gina Weathersby/Kiwi Street Studios

A long time ago in Paris, a man named François Pasquier decided to invite a few friends to the Bois de Boulogne for a picnic. In order for everyone to find each other in the park, they were all instructed to dress in pure white. The event was such a huge success that the following year each person invited a few friends, and, well, you get the picture. The event quickly morphed into “le Diner en Blanc” -The White Dinner- with people dressing in all white, packing the most elegant of meals, and descending upon an unknown landmark until the very last minute for an invitation only “pop-up” evening.

Flash forward a quarter of a century, and after the hugely successful, tres chic Diner en Blanc danced it’s way around the European continent for a while, it’s finally landed in the Queen City, with this past Saturday night’s inaugural event.

For weeks in advance we plotted and planned. We scoured boutiques and our favorite vintage haunts for elegant attire. We hit farmers markets, gourmet shops, and wine stores for the finest comestibles and champagne. And we questioned. Where would the highly anticipated soiree take place? Would our table setting win one of the highly coveted prizes? And of course, the question on everyone’s mind; would the weather cooperate? And it did. In spades. On one of the most picture-perfect evenings, we all showed up at our designated pick up spots, boarded our buses, and off we went. It was only when we were all comfortably ensconced in our seats were we informed of our dining destination. The lovely Lytle Park in The Lytle Park Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  We were delighted!

In no time at all, dozens of buses surrounded this jewel box of a park, and the tastefully clad crowd emerged. From tutus to top hats, boas to bustiers, people had gone all out. As a jazz band lured us in, the 1000+ throng quickly set about arranging tables and chairs, linens, the finest of china, crystal, and silver, candelabras, sophisticated floral arrangements, balloons, and of course, the most delectable gastronomic fare. We commenced with the traditional white napkin wave, and the dining began! Food and spirits were all shared, as they were meant to be, and people naturally flitted from table to table to catch up with friends.

As dusk descended, we were provided sparklers for even more of a festive touch, and a D.J. took over the music duties so that revelers could hit the dance floor.  Giant balloon lanterns were launched into the clear night sky providing a magical effect, and under the watchful eye of President Abraham Lincoln, we boogied the night away.

{Photo diptych above of Abraham Lincoln and dancing scene courtesy of Jens G. Rosenkrantz, Jr. Thank you Jens!)}

{find this post shared on honest cooking’s blog as well}

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Ginger Cravens - September 18, 2012 - 1:56 pm

You captured the evening perfectly!

gweathersby - September 18, 2012 - 9:22 pm

Thanks Ginger! It truly was a lovely evening!

anne rollins - September 18, 2012 - 6:34 pm

How do find out about this event? Can anyone attend? It looked like fun…

gweathersby - September 18, 2012 - 9:22 pm

Hi Anne, Diner en Blanc is an invitation only event, but you can get on the wait list for open spots once all of the invitations have been issued. Go to http://www.dinerenblanc.com. {Ilene}

Louie Bourgeois - September 27, 2012 - 1:18 pm

Incredible Event…Image by image ( …… 1 of 2 videographers- recording the event !)

Louie Bourgeois - September 27, 2012 - 1:19 pm

INCREDIBLE…look forward to 2013 !

gweathersby - October 9, 2012 - 7:14 am

Thanks Louie! We had a wonderful time, and it truly was a fabulous night for our city. {Ilene}

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