By Aniya Greene,
Special to the AFRO
Washington, D.C. is set to transform into a sea of white on September 9 as the highly anticipated Le Dîner en Blanc descends upon the nation’s capital once again. This event, known for its alluring and secretive nature, promises an unforgettable evening of elegance and togetherness. It will once more captivate its attendees as it urges to foster a sense of community and inclusivity amongst the nation’s capital.
Le Dîner en Blanc, which originated in Paris in 1988, has brought in thousands of participants both nationally and internationally. The concept is simple yet enticing: participants are dressed in all-white, gathered at a secret location that is released shortly before to enjoy a dinner among friends and strangers alike. The secrecy component of the event also allows the event to be hosted in various neighborhoods, promoting inclusivity by bringing the celebration to different parts of the city each year. It is an evening that celebrates the joy of community, art, and dining along with shared experience.
“Washington needed to have this event happen,” said Linda Davis, president of the Davis Group which produces Le Dîner en Blanc in Washington, D.C., hosts the event along with her two daughters. With the current era of political and cultural divisions, the event seeks to be one that is accessible and welcoming to all.
The commitment to inclusivity is evident in the diversity of its attendees, representing varied ages, cultures and interests. It is an opportunity for many to engage with an array of people in a place where they would have likewise not had the opportunity. While Washington, D.C. is known for its diversity, Barnette Holston, a long time volunteer and attendee of Le Dîner en Blanc, says the city “can still feel segregated at times.” But for Holton, Le Dîner en Blanc feels different. “It’s essentially people from different walks of life coming together and having a good time,” he said.
In a world often dominated by social media and virtual experiences, Le Dîner en Blanc offers an opportunity for genuine connections. “You end up talking to people that you don’t know, ” says Davis. The event helps initiate newfound friendships and relationships, amongst individuals that may have never had the opportunity.
In the spirit of community, Le Dîner en Blanc partners with local business, artists, and performers to create an experience that immerses its attendees while showcasing the city’s talent. “Creative economy has always been a part of this event,” said Kristina Noell, the executive director of the Anacostia Business Improvement District who co-produces the celebration.
With live musicians and art installations, the event transforms the secret location into a hub for creativity and interaction.
“Our goal revolves around creating a positive experience for the guests,” said Noell. Residents are given the opportunity to directly participate in the event by leading guests and assisting with stage production. The efforts are made to incorporate local communities within the city, to ideally foster a sense of belonging and shared ownership of the event.
New and past attendees alike are eager for the event to make its return to Washington, D.C. Tickets are $52 per person, with an additional $14 membership fee. The waiting list is currently open.
This year Le Dîner en Blanc, promises to be a symbol of Washington, D.C.’s capacity to come together, celebrate differences, and form lasting connections. Against the scenery of a city that tends to be represented as one divided by politics and ideology, this event serves as an example of how an idea of simplicity can transcend into a prosperous celebration of inclusivity and community.