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June 01, 2017

Here's how you (yes, YOU!) can get on the Dîner en Blanc Philly wait list

Diner En Blanc Gatherings
08192016_Diner_En_Blanc_2016_Carlin Photo courtesy/Bernie Carlin

Diner En Blanc was held on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in August 2016.

Do I have some great news for you!

They say April showers bring May flowers. Everybody knows that. But, do you know what May flowers bring as that month turns to June?

News that the Dîner en Blanc wait list is open for dining aspirants! Yep, you read that right! 

Overseers are now accepting applications from A-listers* who yearn to be deemed worthy of attendance at a "global sensation" at which “so present” sparkler-wielding chaps and dames don white, procure quinoa and other fine haughty foodstuffs, and spring into action once notified what public space they will temporarily colonize. (Make that "A-minus listers." The cream of the societal crop has already been granted membership in this elite demographic, of course.)

"This year's event provides us with a different backdrop and another unique and interesting way to show off Philadelphia while having a fabulous party," said co-host Natanya DiBona.

Fabulous, indeed!

Granted, this is the first step in potential inclusion.

Just applying does not mean thou shalt be invited. (Nor should it, if we're being honest. When exclusive events are watered down by riffraff-ian hangers on, they lose the inherent exclusivity that beckons greatness.)

Still, it is an honor to even be under consideration in a lottery sense, is it not? It is.

Here’s what you need to do: Log onto the Dîner en Blanc registration page, where you will see the venue remains “secret” and the price remains “to be confirmed.”

Under those notifications, there is a grey “Option 1” box on which you must attest that you are “not a Member and wish to register on the Waiting List.” There, you will enter your first and last name, and email address.

Upon completing those steps, click the yellow “Register On The Waiting List” box and – voila! – you’ll see a “You have been successfully added to the waiting list” notification.

Then, the waiting game commences.

It won’t be easy, the time spent awaiting word as to whether you will be permitted to attend the sixth annual edition of this glorious gathering. Know that this struggle is very real, but eminently worthwhile.

Per the Philadelphia Business Journal – which quietly broke this story on Wednesday night – you will learn, in early summer, whether you’ll be eligible* to part with money when “Phase 3 goes on sale.” (Wish, wish, hope, hope!)

If you can’t bottle up your enthusiasm that long, DEB organizers have made concessions that will help you bide the time.

From 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, they will host a free “preview party” at Headhouse Square, a setting befitting the nobility of the event. 

NoneCourtesy of Diner en Blanc Philly/for PhillyVoice

In 2015, Diner en Blanc Philly held a preview party at Headhouse Square. The event returns to that spot next week.


By doing so, DEB organizers want to celebrate a noteworthy public space by doing so, which is part of the event's mission itself. To wit

This unique venue in Historic Philadelphia, adjacent to one of America’s most famous streets, ties in with the theme of the 2017 table decorating contest. 

Area florists, event planners and visual directors will present elegant and elaborate table displays that pay homage to “Historic Philadelphia: Events That Shaped Our City.” Tables will be judged on use of white, execution of theme, creative use of props, complexity, and originality.  

A grand prize winner, and people’s choice winner, will be selected by local judges with experience in art, design, entertainment, media and hospitality. …

The table display contest is just one of several features of the annual Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia Preview Party, which brings together DEB event organizers, volunteers, past patrons and new participants. It is the kick-off to a celebration of the city of Philadelphia that extends beyond one evening in August.

It’s a beautiful thing, this show of unity and a celebration of everything that has made Philadelphia, and its myriad public spaces, great through the weeks, months, years, decades and – dare I say – centuries!

Should you be deemed worthy* of the honor of paying to eat your own food in a public place where you could do so for free 364 other days of the year (or 365 in a leap year), know full well that the haters will judge you.

Do not listen to them. They are obviously jealous of not only your stature in life overall, but your elite standing in Philadelphia’s public-eating societal hierarchy.

Bask in the beauty and exclusivity of an event that continues to Make Philadelphia Great Again each and every year. 

Let those sparklers sparkle like the crackling hopes and dreams of a world made more beautiful by Dîner en Blanc.

(*The organizers, through spokesman Kory Aversa, want to assure you that "no one is picked or selected to be in the event based on any criteria. There is a lottery that randomly selects participants for phase three. It doesn't matter who you are, where you are from, your background, where you signed up or any criteria other than you are on the list." Also, A or A-minus list criteria "isn't the case nor has this ever been the case.")


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