Sharon and I dressed in white and joined hundreds of Edmontonians at our city’s first Dîner en Blanc event on Thursday, July 17. It was a rainy evening, but that didn’t deter attendees from taking advantage of the opportunity to participate in a unique visual spectacle in Edmonton’s river valley.
Here’s a description of the concept:
“At the last minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Dîner en Blanc’s” secret place. Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.”
In Edmonton the secret location turned out to be Louise McKinney Riverfront Park, a great choice for an event like this, with lots of space and a wonderful view of the skyline.
For an overview of the Edmonton event, my thoughts, and more detail, check out my audio recap on Mixcloud.
Or you can download the MP3 here.
Our group met at ATB Place downtown:
After everyone had arrived and checked in, we started walking over to Louise McKinney Riverfront Park. It was funny to see all of the confused faces staring at us as we crossed the streets.
It was a wet evening, so there were a lot of umbrellas and ponchos in the crowd. Sharon was happy with the clear one we picked up specifically for the event!
We made it to the park to find hundreds of people busy setting up their tables and chairs in loose rows.
The rain wasn’t too bad while we were setting up, but it started to get worse shortly after we took this photo!
Food, wine, and water was available for pickup off to the side. Like most things throughout the night, we had to discover that for ourselves, as there wasn’t much guidance.
There was some entertainment throughout the evening, including some dancers from Cavalia, and musicians up on stage. Again, there was no program or information about any of them.
For the very briefest of moments, we saw the orange sun (thanks to the forest fire smoke). It didn’t last long though.
We wondered why some people had tents and discovered that some enterprising folks decided to bring their own! There was no mention of tents on the list of prohibited items. Visually it does impact the effect, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on the list next year.
At some point we noticed others lighting their sparklers, so we joined in an lit ours as well. It probably would have been good to wait until it was a bit darker, but I think everyone was tired of the cold and rain.
The sky darkened and the rain returned, so we joined the growing number of people who packed up and left after the sparklers.
We made the best of a wet situation and had fun! In the end though, we decided that we likely wouldn’t attend again next year. Lots of other people seemed to love it though, so I’m sure the event will be back again next summer.