Runners slow to a walk, and couples strolling along the Bow river come to a full stop, staring, as strains of Edith Piaf’s iconic “La Vie en Rose” drift from a massive white tent, floating along a summer breeze to ruffle a twelve foot, inflated, ivory installation framing the Peace Bridge. Within minutes a small crowd has gathered along the sidewalk, pointing and smiling, quizzical looks on almost all faces as they look out on the sudden spectacle. However, it isn’t the classic French music or the beautiful pop-up décor that has Calgarian’s lining the Princes Island pathway, staring in wonder; it’s the twenty five hundred guests decked head to toe in shimmering, luminescent hues of white, cream, and ivory, elegantly weaving their way through rows of draped, white picnic tables, as Calgary begins it’s third annual Diner en Blanc.
An event as equally rich in style and taste as it is in history, Diner en Blanc (quite literally, White Dinner) traces its roots more over twenty five years a go to- of course- Paris, where a young Fracois Pasquier wanted to invite a group of friends out for a picnic. Not having all met, he recommended they come dressed completely in white, so as to recognize other members of their group. It quickly became an annual event, and from these elegant, Parisian beginnings, Diner en blanc was born. Having now spread to multiple countries, the event maintains a strict invite-only guest list, and a mandatory zero-waste policy, where all attendees must bring in all of their picnic materials, and take them back out at the evening’s conclusion. It makes for a visually stunning, pop-up event, that attendee’s plan for months in advance.
The BOOM team attended this year’s event, and quite frankly, we could not have had a more wonderful time. Designing on the Edge’s Lea Romanowski created a pop-up canopy structure for our table that took only to minutes to construct, and looked simply stunning once assembled. With our table set, food plated, and wine poured, we were left free to do exactly what Diner en Blanc’s entire existence revolves around: spend time with good friends! The event’s focus on community and bringing one another together remains the heart and soul of the evening, and it manages to create fun (and brilliantly photogenic) moments throughout the course of the night, without dipping into the cliché.
One by one, the dark evening air was lit up by the golden spray of thousands of sparklers, a Diner en Blanc tradition, signalling the near conclusion of the evening. Guests began to make their way to the impromptu dance floor, where The Wet Secrets, adorned in pure white marching band hats, were playing a lively, brass-heavy set, the last performance of the night. The evening ended with the bright and lively sound of the band as they stomped across the stage, waving their instrument’s in brilliant synchronization, and dozens of Calgarian’s dancing the night away- no doubt already hoping for a simple, beautiful white invitation to find its way to their inbox next year; a promise of things to come.