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24 Hours in St. Paul
By: | Posted: 06/21/2012
[caption id="attachment_3149" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="last year by attendee Tammy Kimbler"][/caption]
Some of you may have already heard about the pop-up public dinner parties called Dinner in White (Diner en Blanc) that started in Paris. Some of you may even have participated in one.
It's the ultimate evening picnic, a flash-mob feast that happens by the people, for the people on one special night. The idea is that you plan for a stylish picnic, plan to dress in your coolest whites, and plan to make merry on a given date ... but you aren't told the location until one hour before. It's a spontaneous gathering where people bring tables, set them next to their friends' tables (or maybe next to some new friends' tables), and link up to enjoy a beautiful summer evening.
It started in Paris in 1988, by a man named Francois Pasquier who wanted to gather friends in the park for a picnic to reconnect after a long time away. He asked that they all wear white to recognize each other. The official dinner continues annually in Paris, with ten thousand coming by invite only, and has spread across the world to include sites in Montreal, Milan, Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, and more. Unofficially, there are even more dinners that are inspired by the event, like the ones in Denver and Seattle, oh and Minneapolis.
Last year I was invited by a friend to the super-secret party that took place in June at Lake Calhoun, but I couldn't go. This year the event is being held this Saturday, June 23 at 7:30 pm. There is no online sign-up, no reservation system, just a lovely mandate to bring your enjoyment in, and take it out with you when you leave. It's self-serve, so you furnish your table, chairs, and wares (do make a statement with a candelabra or white hydrangeas, hmmm?) and bring your own nosh. Full-on dinner? Snacks and apps? Wine and fondue? It's all up to you, but consider bringing a little extra to offer to the table next to you. If you want to sit next to your pals, you should arrive together. The idea is to get there and link up tables so that everyone sits right away, don't plan on saving a space in the line for a late-arriving table.
Dress head to toe in white, be it a sporty tennis frock or your best vintage flapper dress. The more white, the grander and more elegant the effect. And this is an adult event, so the kiddoes probably should be left at home. The evening will unwind as it will, there are no programs or presentations, just a little planned sparkler action at the close. Part of the deal is that you take it all with you when you leave, leaving not a petal out of place in the lovely setting.
And where will it be this year? The "secret hosts" will announce the location at 6:30pm on the Dinner In White (Diner en Blanc) MSP Facebook page. Someone has to add you to join so if you're interested in participating in this little secret of our city, let me know in the comments and I'll add you.
Stephanie March is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s food and dining editor. See bio
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