By Aniya Greene,
Special to the AFRO

Le Dîner en Blanc, a unique and elegant tradition persevered through torrential downpour and unfolded against all odds. The eighth edition of the well-known pop up picnic event was held at Henry Bacon Park on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Attendees across the D.C. area dressed completely in white and brought their own gourmet meals and table settings. They arrived at specific meeting points near the official secret meeting location, which is essential to the Le Dîner en Blanc experience. Despite the rain that had been forecasted for the evening, guests gathered with a sense of anticipation and excitement for the evening ahead. 

The rain lasted through the beginning of the event which delayed its start. Once the National Weather Service lifted its weather alert and the National Parks Service deemed the parks safe for entry, the pop-up picnic continued. Making the decision to continue with the Le Dîner en Blanc was the right call, according to Kaitlin Latonick, an organizer of the event.

“Moving forward with the proper guidelines ended up being a great decision and a great night,” said Latonick.

While some may have viewed the delays as setbacks, participants of Le Dîner en Blanc embraced the challenge and were motivated to create a memorable experience despite the weather.

“There was just pure joy on [guests’] faces that they were there. And that we were moving on with the event,” said Latonick.

Despite the rain, the event’s entertainment lineup proceeded as planned after the delays, with live music and street performers which contributed to the festive atmosphere. The inclement weather did not dampen the spirits of the attendees, who danced throughout the night and mingled with one another, creating new-found friendships. 

While the celebration, for those unfamiliar can seem somewhat exclusive, De’Marcus Finnell long-time volunteer and attendee wants people to know about the culture and artistry that stems from Le Dîner en Blanc.

“There is so much beauty, creativity, and culture that elevates the experience in each city,” said Finnell.

Organizers of the event partnered with local vendors, performers, and artists to showcase some of the city’s talents while also creating an immersive experience for guests. Artists and vendors from the World Cultural Festival were also invited to highlight the scope of artistry the event had to offer.

“It showed action and inclusivity. Not just for participants, but for vendors and artists to see a different side of Diner en Blanc,” said Finnell.

As the night continued, performers initiated a crowd-wide white napkin wave followed by sparklers illuminating the night sky. The all-white event transformed into a major celebration with people of all walks of life coming together to create a memorable experience in the heart of Washington, D.C.

Organizers of Le Diner en Blanc Washington, D.C., expressed the importance of the community building aspect of the event. 

“It is unlike any other event because of the camaraderie within our guests and the city, ” said Latonick. “It’s really important for us to make sure that happens as hosts and hear about it from guests.” 

Despite the adverse weather conditions, Le Diner en Blanc 2023, for many, will be a testament to the unwavering commitment of its participants, who turned an unexpected rainstorm into a symbol of elegance, resilience, and community. 

“It gave people something to look forward to for next year,” said Finnell.