What happens when you plan for something all year, only to have it canceled and rescheduled due to Chicago summer weather? You make sure you can still attend Diner en Blanc – Chicago of course!
That’s what happened to about 3000 people on August 12, 2016.
Diner en Blanc was voted one of Chicago’s Top Parties in 2015 by PartySlate. It’s not to be missed - if you can get an invitation. Diner en Blanc is an all white attire, pop-up flash mob. Guests register for a meeting point throughout Chicago and are given a table leader. The table leader becomes their source of information pertaining to the event, including revealing the secret location on the day of the event. The night of, everyone meets at their meeting point and ventures through the city with their table, chairs, tablecloth, napkins and food to the secret location. This sounds like a lot of work and it is. I won’t lie about that part, but the end result is magical.
I’ve been a volunteer for the event for three years now and I’m guaranteed to be in attendance. But that also means I have responsibilities to uphold. By the time the Friday evening event was canceled most of my couples were already on their way to the meeting point in River North, where I would be guiding them to the secret location.
The cancelation announcement was made to all the volunteers and we got the word out. I was lucky because the majority of my group could make it for Saturday, but I did have guests in my group that couldn’t make Saturday night. I improvised and invited everyone to The Godfrey Hotel - IO Rooftop. The Godfrey Hotel was amazing with their hospitality and sectioned off part of their indoor lounge for anyone wearing white. Throughout the night, people wandered in dressed in all white and joined our party as it poured outside. I heard people comment, “the planners made the right call. We wouldn’t have wanted to be out in that rain.”
Those in my group that could make the reboot on Saturday handled it like champs. They came ready to party on Saturday and were given an opportunity to dine at one of Chicago’s most iconic locations. This year’s secret location: Queens Landing! This is a prime spot across Lake Shore Drive from Buckingham Fountain. Guests of Diner en Blanc Chicago had the privilege of dining ten feet from Lake Michigan on one side and Buckingham Fountain on the other. There wasn’t a bad view all night and if you stuck out the brief rain shower around 10pm, you were given front row seats to Navy Pier's fireworks - which wouldn't have happened on Friday night.
At each event you never know who will be in your group. In the past three years as a volunteer for Diner en Blanc, this year’s group was by far my favorite. In the past, I’ve guided guests to the secret location and never spoken to them during the evening. Not the story this year; we all hung out as a group for the duration of the night. This made the night even more magical. I gained 20 new friends that I’m looking forward to having in my Diner en Blanc group for years to come.
If you’re ever asked by a friend if you’d like to attend Diner en Blanc, take my advice: DO IT!
Featured photo credit: Nick Ulivieri