Bring­ing at­ten­tion to the glam­our, mys­tery of Diner en Blanc Rich­mond for its 2nd year

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - CULTURE 2 - Karri Peifer kpeifer@rich­mond.com kpeifer@rich­mond.com (804) 649-6321 Twit­ter: @Kar­riPeifer

OK. Let me just start and get the em­bar­rass­ing part out of the way: There’s an amaz­ing (at least amaz­ing-look­ing) event in Rich­mond that’s get­ting ready to hap­pen for the sec­ond year in a row, and I’ve never writ­ten about it.

It’s Diner en Blanc Rich­mond, the lo­cal ver­sion of a din­ing event that started 30 years ago in Paris. In fact, this year’s Paris event took place June 4, and an es­ti­mated 30,000 peo­ple con­verged on the Les In­valides mon­u­ment for a “Din­ner in White” event that was so im­pres­sive that in­ter­na­tional me­dia cov­ered the thing.

So why didn’t I tell you about it last year when it came to Rich­mond for the first time ever? WHY?

Well, it’s largely be­cause I didn’t un­der­stand it — and I still don’t en­tirely un­der­stand it be­cause of this: At­ten­dees of Diner en Blanc bring ev­ery­thing. I mean ev­ery sin­gle thing. You bring your own food, your own plates, your own sil­ver­ware, your own glasses, your own table­cloth, your own nap­kins, your own bev­er­ages, your own ta­ble dé­cor, and your own garbage bag, with which you must re­move any and all of your own per­sonal de­bris at the end of the evening.

Peo­ple, you bring your own ta­ble and chairs. Lit­er­ally. And you pay for the priv­i­lege of do­ing it.

Oh, and of course, ev­ery­thing must be white — the at­tire, the linens, the chairs, the plates. Ev­ery­thing, en Blanc.

This is how it’s done in Paris — and this is how it’s done all over the world. Last year, over 110,000 peo­ple in 28 coun­tries par­tic­i­pated in Diner en Blanc events, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press — and just over 1,000 of those at­ten­dees were right here in Rich­mond when the event took place in Au­gust at the Science Mu­seum of Vir­ginia.

And now this year’s date has been set — it’s Satur­day, July 7 — and as is the cus­tom with Diner en Blanc events all over the globe — the lo­ca­tion is kept se­cret un­til the last mo­ment.

“We are ex­cited to once again cre­ate a one-of-a-kind ex­pe­ri­ence that brings to­gether food, friends and the beauty of Rich­mond in a way our city has never seen,” En­joli Moon, co­host of Le Diner en Blanc-Rich­mond, wrote in a state­ment. “For the sec­ond an­nual Le Diner en Blanc, we have once again searched the city high and low to find a venue that will ‘wow’ and ren­der this night mag­i­cal as we wel­come guests from Rich­mond and along the East Coast.”

Moon is put­ting on this year’s event along with her co­hosts from last year, Chris­tine Wansleben and Ayana Obika.

I did not at­tend last year’s event, but I fol­lowed along on so­cial me­dia and watched as a sold-out crowd ex­pe­ri­enced an in­cred­i­bly glam­orous-look­ing din­ner party com­plete with dancers, live mu­sic and sparklers. I was jeal­ous, OK. And I felt very stupid for never hav­ing writ­ten about it.

Ticket prices for this year’s event haven’t been an­nounced, but last year’s price was $44 per per­son, and tick­ets must be pur­chased in pairs. A price has not been an­nounced for the 2018 event, ei­ther, but reg­is­tra­tion will open in three phases: Phase 1 (opened June 6) for those who at­tended last year; Phase 2 for any­one re­ferred by Phase I at­ten­dees (opens June 13); and Phase 3 for those on the wait­ing list (June 20). You can sign up at: rich­mond.dineren­blanc.com/ reg­is­ter.

Roughly 1,200 at­ten­dees will be al­lowed this year.

“This an­nual se­cret af­fair prom­ises to be an­other un­for­get­table evening of el­e­gance, beauty and magic, as it takes over an­other pub­lic space whose lo­ca­tion is only re­vealed minutes prior to the com­mence­ment of the event,” ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

New this year is the op­tion of pre­order­ing a catered pic­nic bas­ket. Also, due to this year’s venue (which hasn’t been dis­closed), at­ten­dees can­not bring their own al­co­hol. It must be pre­ordered on the reg­is­tra­tion site, and the op­tions are wine and cham­pagne only.

KIRA SIDDALL

The first Diner en Blanc Rich­mond was held in Au­gust at the Science Mu­seum of Vir­ginia.

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