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Sofitel en Blanc Offering Another Opportunity to attend Diner en Blanc Philly

Diner en Blanc, the most desired dinner party to attend says 6,000 people. All the RSVP’s are in, and you haven’t received yours. There is another way to get in and you don’t have to carry your table, food or schlep through subways (although I always have fun doing that as well.)

Once again this year, Sofitel Hotels & Resorts is partnering with Dîner en Blanc International to bring a new level of luxury to this iconic occasion. Guests in 6 North American cities will be able to claim a highly coveted ticket to Le Dîner en Blanc and skip the carrying of tables, chairs and dinnerware – to seek out the extraordinary, an exclusive dining experience fashioned by Sofitel and inspired by the elegance and sophistication of high French culture, right in the heart of Dîner en Blanc. Places are extremely limited. To learn more, visit www.sofitelenblanc.com.

Experience the new French art de vivre. Experience Sofitel en Blanc.

Exclusive Sofitel en Blanc Package includes:

  • Highly Coveted Ticket to Le Dîner en Blanc
  • Welcome Champagne Toast at Sofitel
  • Luxury Transport to Preferred Meeting Spot
  • Elegant Tablescape at Le Dîner en Blanc (Pre-Set; No Carrying Required)
  • Gourmet Menu Curated by one of Sofitel’s Premiere Chefs
  • Selections of Fine Wines
  • An Evening of Revelry & Dancing

Pricing is $600.00 per pair**.

Learn more about our partnership with Dîner en Blanc International, click here.

** Sofitel en Blanc All-Inclusive Passes have a maximum capacity of 50 pairs for the Philadelphia event. Sofitel en Blanc Passes are non-refundable and based on per pair pricing of $600.00 USD ($300.00 USD per guest). For complete terms and conditions, click here.

Philadelphia

Diner en Blanc, links to where the photos were picked up Plus MTV Eclipse Promo News

What an awesome Diner en Blanc, and a great space to have it at Franklin Square, one of my favorite parks.

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I forgot I was going away until Tuesday, I don’t have time to do my Diner en Blanc wrap up until Wednesday but here are the links to where some of the photos have been placed so far….

Elizabeth Wellington’s Column at Philly.com

Plus the Phila Inquirer

Metro Philly

Philly Style Magazine

Philadelphia Magazine – I’ll be using some of these, as well as additional ones for the October issue.

Phila Business Journal

Time Out Philadelphia

In three months after Philly Mag and Philly Style go to print, I will put most of the photos in an online album for you to grab your shot.

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Taken from my balcony Friday night

It was great meeting all of you, thanks for letting me photograph you. Follow me on Twitter @HughE_Dillon and on instagram PhillyChitChat for the latest on what’s happening in Philly and the best places to hang out and eat.

 

I received the follow press release from MTV.

This year, MTV is leaning into the space theme this year, tapping Director Floria Sigismindi (known for her work on music videos for big stars such as Justin Timberlake and Rihanna) and world-renowned photographer David LaChapelle to create an out of this world space-inspired campaign (check out the promo clip here).

To further emphasize this campaign theme and to celebrate the start of “VMA” week and MTV’s newly re-named “Moon Person,” the network is executing a series of activations around the Solar Eclipse this coming Monday, August 21st.

  • On Monday the 21st, MTV will be airing a “VMA” x eclipse animated graphic on-air and across social and digital platforms to celebrate.
  • MTV is celebrating the eclipse in 7 cities across the country, partnering with Fooji to deliver custom “VMA” eclipse viewing glasses and astronaut ice cream to fans who tweet #TotalEclipseVMA + the female astronaut emoji.
  • The campaign will begin at 11:00am ET / 10:00am CT / 9:00am PT on Twitter.
  • All fans need to do is head to @VMAs on Twitter and tweet the specific combo.
    • Delivery areas include Charleston, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York and St. Louis.
  • MTV is giving away eclipse viewing glasses live on air and to fans in Times Square.

The VMAs will air LIVE at 8:00pm ET / PT on Sunday August 27th on MTV.

 

 

Philadelphia

Diner en Blanc Preview Party, Plus How You Can Go

Happy first day of summer. WOW where did the spring go. Although the social season winds down a bit in the summer as folks go away on the weekends, there are still a few amazing events happening one of which is Diner en Blanc. Earlier this month Diner en Blanc had a preview party at the South Street Shambles. I was in Alaska on my cruise, but Al For was there and sent over a few photos of the event we both shoot for Aversa PR in August.

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It was a packed house under the shambles, despite the questionable weather. Diner en Blanc is held rain/shine as well. Over the years weather has not been a deterent for fans of the outdoor party attracting increasing crowds with each year.

2012 – 1,200 Logan Circle
2013 – 2,550 JFK Bridge
2014 – 3,500 Avenue of the Arts
2015 – 4,500 The Navy Yard – Marine Parade Grounds
2016 – 5,000 Philadelphia Museum of Art
2017 – 5,200  Surprise location! (Can we start guessing now? I’m thinking somewhere in Old City, how about Market Street? or
Maybe the Piazza?)

preview Natanya DiBona and Kayli Moran co-hosts of Philly’s Diner en Blanc with Anita Oh, fashion blogger and cbs 3 reporter

SCHEDULE FOR 2017:
Past participants should watch for their phase one invitations sometime in early July. Phase 2 and 3 will follow later in the month.

Phase 1 for last year’s registered members – July 6th
Phase 2 for guests recommended from those that registered from phase 1 – July 13th
Lottery (Phase 3) for those on the wait list who are new to event – July 18th opens and continues with lottery system until sold out

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PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNER:
Winner: Eilena Mercier-Ehmann; Event Loft (www.eventloftpa.com)
Theme: 1976- The Love Sign is placed in Love Park as part of the Bicentennial celebration

NATANYA DIBONA
It is six years- what keeps people going each year?

Initially, I think it’s the intrigue of what location- a new location each year really gives an opportunity to show off the city in an entirely different way.  However, year after year guests come back to enjoy an elegant meal and a really great party with their family and friends. It has become a Philadelphia tradition we are proud to have started.

Lessons learned from 2016 and six years under belt:

Each year we get more and more organized and we have more and more people who are returning to volunteer, so we have a lot of experience under our belt.   We ask for feedback from our guests, group leaders and table leaders and from our planning team and we take it very seriously and make improvements based on their suggestions.  However, the fact that the location changes each year means that we face new and unusual challenges each year.

What is your favorite part about planning this event?

I honestly can’t say there is just one favorite part.   However, I do absolutely love picking a spot and designing an event around showing off the beauty of the location, as well as the historical significance of the spot to the City of Philadelphia.   Both of my parents were born and raised in South Philadelphia and their families really embraced the city and everything it had to offer.  I find myself drawing on their stories or pictures- whether it’s my great uncle’s Navy Yard identification badge or a black and white picture my grandfather took from the top of the Art Museum steps- for inspiration.

 

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6ABC’s Alicia Vitarelli was a guest celeb designer of a table – and worked with Valley Flowers.

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NEW CULINARY PARTNERS – ALL NEW FOR 2017 (all were at preview too):
Feast Your Eyes Catering (photo above)
Cheese Boards from Collective Creamery
Charcuterie from 1732 Meats

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Suzi Nash trying on a hat by Touché Accessories

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Pat Nogar, Jennifer Lynn Robinson and Maria Fritz (sporting her new brown ‘do)

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Winner of the Judge’s Choice

previewJUDGE’S CHOICE WINNER:
Winner: Coleen Christian Burke; Events by Coleen
Theme: 1901- The first official Mummer’s Parade is held

JUDGES:
Christopher Cordaro, EB Realty/Divine Lorraine
Amy Needle,  CEO, Historic Philadelphia
Lee Arnold Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Senior Director of Library and Collections
Sheila Hess, City Representative, Philadelphia
Kelly Edwards, Community Relations at Arts and Crafts Holdings
Adam Schmidt, Drink Philly
Anita Oh, CBS3

How To Get Into Diner en Blanc

Philadelphia

Diner en Blanc Has A Charity Component – Now Shut Up

I know harsh title, but after going to events yesterday and people asking me why Diner en Blanc didn’t have a charity component, and then yes I was sad about the negative articles that came out about Diner en Blanc from people who never attended, and the one poor sad sap who didn’t have the gonads to tell his girlfriend he found the whole thing boring, but one posting on FB where a publisher of a magazine wanted to know where the money went, is the one that really affected me (surprised he doesn’t know how much it costs to run an event, it’s not free.)  I am biased, I love the event, they are my clients, and I also donate time to the event.  All I really know about life is we are here for a short time, I really want people to live and love, and I don’t understand negativity. I posted a little thing on FB. I got a feedback, good, disagreeable but not nasty, which is really the way it should be – C’est la vie. Oh wait there was one negative response from a Trump supporter who was mad I maligned him. We’re still friends though, it’s only the hypocrites I can’t stand. Near the end is where the Natanya DiBona statement on the charity work Philly Diner en Blanc does through out the year, and the volunteer hours that go into putting on an event as large as Diner en Blanc, with its 5,000 attendees this year:  My favorite response was Yo Philly, is more like Oy Philly

Here goes

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I included a few responses to my posts

 

Alexandra Golaszewska I’ve never gone to Dîner en Blanc, mainly I don’t want to haul my own furniture and plates to a dinner. But I don’t get why so many people are saying it needs to be fundraiser. I understand that they’re using public space, but so are all of the restaurants that have sidewalk tables, and I don’t hear the same criticism of them.

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Cassie Hepler I said the same thing Hugh E Dillon as in why not get all uppity about the Eagles not donating to charity? Certainly those tickets and salaries are ridiculously overinflated as in millions not just $200K.

HughE: Although all the sports teams do a lot of charity, the ticket holder is not getting a charity deduction for the price of the ticket, so that

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Jacqueline Peccina Kelly Hugh E Dillon I have to agree 100% with what you said – I am disappointed in these naysayers. Is it because it is 2 women who are in charge? Or is it because they are jealous? Ignorance? I applaud Natanya and Kayli for orchestrating, what I think has been the party of the year. They brought 5000 strangers together who became friends for a night – no violence, nothing stolen, and a good time was had by all!

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Brigid McGrath Stasen First allow me to say that I am not a “schlepper”. I like to sit at tables donning white tablecloths and linen napkins with the best of them. Truth be told, I don’t even like buffets. If I’m going out to dinner I enjoy being served. That being said, I think the concept of Diner en Blanc is fun and fabulous. Did I want to go? No. Did I feel a bit of FOMO last night as I watched the videos and enjoyed the photos everyone was posting on FB? Yes. It looked like so much fun and I loved seeing all of my friends that were there enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, the trash etc… left behind is surely not worse than any number of parades in our fine city. If DEB folks paid for the clean up. Good for them. They should. Would it be nice to know if there was a charity angle? Absolutely. It’s a creative and fun event that allows all whom wish to participate to have a wonderful evening under the stars. Loved seeing everyone dressed in their white finery, their fabulous table settings, fun hats and ensembles. Will I be going to DEB 2017? No. Will I again have FOMO? Yes. But that’s okay. My friends had a blast.

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Sarah Doheny We’ve gone the first two years they both were magical evenings. The first year will was by far the best, all the sparklers lite at the same time, napkins waving …the fountain ..
It’s a choice and not everyone will be pleased and not everyone wishes to schlep…

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Mary Anne Keenan McDevitt I love DEB and I have carted my table, chairs, food and drink up and down subway steps, walked miles and ate dinner in the rain and will continue to attend for many years to come. Our group, last night, met across from the Franklin Institute and we walked to the Art Museum. The police stopped traffic as we started our trek, but for the remainder of the walk we obeyed traffic signals and only crossed the street on green. I can not comment on the mess that is left. I know that when we broke down our tables and chairs, last night, there was nothing left behind. (Have you ever seen the parking lot after a Kenny Chesney Concert?) We enjoy the evening and look forward to it.

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Bernnie Visalli How can anyone say something negative about a civil party all dressed in white with sparklers. Saw some coverage of that and it looked amazing.
People complain about everything now.

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Gregory Seitter Unfortunately, you will have a lot of naysayers. Diner en Blanc helps make Philadelphia a first class city. Plus, the event drives revenue in the city. Seems like a win-win for me.
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Christopher: The haters of this awesome event are probably the same people who hate every amazing event of grand scale this city should encourage. If we want to be a great city, a world class city, we should encourage more creative events like this. There is no downside to Diner en Blanc, is there? Bringing so many joyous people together makes our city stronger and more fun
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Karen Toole-Ebbert Amen Hugh E Dillon! I cannot understand why the push for a charity component in the 1st place. Even if it was a total for profit event it is no ones freaking business!! I host events every month and it is time consuming along with expenses.

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Monique Crawford Totally agree. Leave it to opportunists to take a European tradition for the people who just want to celebrate life, food, fun, and friends and try to taint it for their own self promoting reasons. It’s Dîner En Blanc people, relax, just don’t go and get back to focusing on your self.
Matt Sullivan I see zero moral difference between using your money to buy tickets to this event and using your money to buy Eagles tickets. Except Eagles tickets are three times as expensive. So I guess Eagles fans care about the poor three times less than these people.
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Josh Kruger I drafted a paragraph-long comment several times before settling on, “Can we all just let each other live our dang lives?”
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Michelle Leonard  (name removed) I don’t think I know you. I am republican and most people know it. I know that Hugh E Dillon definitely knows it. And I consider HughE to be a close friend. He is one of the kindest most thoughtful and generous people I know. He is always fair and reasonable.
Second of all do you entertain? First of all Natanya DiBona and her friend Kayli do an amazing job planning and coordinating such a memorable evening. Do you realize what all of the buses entertainment and all of the other things go into creating this special evening. I don’t know if you went or not but it was a night to remember. Philadelphia is so lucky to have such talented people like Natanya and Kory Aversa putting together this amazing night.
Philadelphians should be thanking them for their generosity to helping to keep Philadelphia the world class city that it is.
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Carmena Ayo-Davies You know I love you, I think DEB is beautifully organized, I’m lazy and like to be pampered, so all the extra Ish, is just not my cup of tea. I live in a two bedroom and I have a cleaning lady, I know I’m not toting my meal, table and chair anywhere in white. Just my opinion, I think people should definitely support, all the pictures look beautiful
Amy Z. Quinn It’s legal to get a permit and close down streets for an event, it happens all the time. It’s not my thing but
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Marjilyn Murray I dont mind people making fun a bit ( i have attended for 4 years including this one) some of my friends make fun for having to carry chairs/tables/bring your own dinner lol. but such real nastyness from people…mostly who have never attended…i feel is uncalled for. It is a night where so many different people from all walks of life eat together, share food and drink, and peacefully have a wonderful time. We have met so many friends who we may have not met otherwise. Our table was a mix of all ages, races, orientation, and people from all over. We had a ball! How often do we all get that opportunity to go out and meet all different types of people (especially as a parent who doesnt get out too much lol?)
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It may not go to charity but if me and my husband choose to go to dinner and spend $100 to eat at a restaurant with sidewalk seating…what is the difference? I dont see people yelling and accusing others of anything nasty (such as not caring about other world issues) because they went to dinner anywhere else.

You seem like a super nice person hugh…people are nasty and jealous and mean. Keep on being you and dont let the naysayers get you down:)

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Karina Sellhorn I have never attended, I want to. I respect all opinions… But I don’t understand why every event in the city has to be a fundraiser? To each it’s own. People pay to tour the city; I would pay to get to have that experience.
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Shoshana Suzanne Schiller Well, let’s compare apples to apples. DEB does not supply food, alcohol, servers, linens, centerpieces, etc. (Note – my view is DEB is not my thing but others like it and it’s one night of the year when traffic is affected so stop whining and let people who want to pay for the privilege to attend enjoy their night)
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Victor Fiorillo My band The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret played it last year and I was surprised we didn’t get any crap for doing so. It was a great experience for us. I was a major eye roller but not a harsh critic of DEB prior to that event and after doing it, I came away with mostly positive feelings. I personally would never spend the money to be there, but I don’t fault others for doing the same or for DEB doing the event without a charity component. I disagree with your assertion that they can’t possibly add a charity component — why couldn’t they do a food drive at the event or allow a non profit to set up a table soliciting donations — but there are plenty of events in Philly that are dining oriented that don’t also try to feed the homeless. Not everything has to be everything to everybody and in the end, people are going to continue to sell out DEB regardless.

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Hugh E Dillon A can good is a great idea, but then someone would complain we asked them to carry one more thing. I Know Natanya and kayli would add a charity component if they could. At least to quiet the noise.
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Natanya DiBona While we are unable to officially partner with a particular charity, we have given MANY free tickets to non-profits throughout the years (with a wide range of missions- from red cross to fringe arts and the vetri foundation) to auction off, we raised funds for Fairmount Park Conservancy through an event this year in honor of our first location, Logan Circle, we’ve auctioned off paintings done at the 2014 event to benefit PAFA and the Avenue of the Arts and we had 65 of our volunteers assist with #popupphilly, the first pop-up dinner party for the homeless. And actually, Hugh E Dillon, while i do understand what you are saying and I appreciate the sentiment, we would not do anything just to quiet noise- I believe we are authentic and genuine in everything we have done since 2012. 

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Kayli, myself and an 8 person team dedicate 4 months planning this event unpaid and this year we were assisted by another 155 volunteers who helped us execute it….all for the love of planning a great event in the city we love. The city is the beneficiary of all of those thousands of hours we donate of our time to make this event happen (as a small example of the time it takes, threading each of the wristbands that our participants wore took 52 man hours- just imagine what went into planning the whole event). Everyone else does get paid though…the venue (“public space” does not mean free), the city, police officers, street cleaners, portapotties sound and lighting professionals, tent companies, insurance providers, bus companies, Septa, and yes, performers like the fabulous Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, Victor Fiorillo. The very reasonable ticket price makes all of that possible.

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JW: You should know by now that Philadelphians hating on anything positive that goes on in Philadelphia is the most Philadelphian thing you can do. I think it’s up there with the citywide special — $3 PBR and a shot of Jim Bean — as quintessential Philly.

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Q&A: We ask Diner en Blanc’s organizers to explain themselves

Philadelphia

Diner en Blanc 2016 at the Art Museum a Pictorial

Good Friday morning. OMG what an amazing night, everyone who attended said it was the best location. I am busy preparing columns for Philly Mag, Philly Style Mag and Philly Metro but wanted to drop a few shots here for your enjoyment as well. On Monday I will have a column of my fashion, food and table best of pics from Diner en Blanc Philadelphia, the 5th Anniversary. 5,000 were excited to carry tables, chairs, tableware, and dinner to an undisclosed location, a few hundred even travelled as far away as Sugarhouse, Independence Hall *they were bused part of the way, City Hall, 30th Street Station, Eastern State Penn, The Waterworks and other locations in Center City.

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6:15pm to 7:15pm, guests gather at meeting spots around the city before heading to final destination (Please contact us to meet up with groups at departure points)

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7:15pm, arrival at location and set-up

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7:45pm (estimated), tradition of white napkins waiving to mark the start of dinner

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This year’s official caterers are 33rd Street Hospitality Catering, Reading Terminal Market and Luke Palladino Catering. Apothic Wines is proud to be the official wine sponsor of the 2016 US Diner en Blanc series, including Philadelphia.
(Photo Credit: Kory Aversa)

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Table art where guests bring imagination and creativity to their table settings diner

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9:15pm (estimated), 5,000 sparklers to light up the night to signify the opening of the dance floor

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11:00pm, participants gather all their belongings and rubbish to leave the location as clean as when they arrived and invited to attend the after-party at Sofitel Hotel Philadelphia HD1_8788 (Custom) HD1_8803 (Custom) And everyone I asked said they can’t wait til next year.

Check back on Monday for my Best Dressed, Best Table and Best Pix choices, plus I’ll have the links to Philly Mag and Philly Style Mag of the photos I placed there. Have a great weekend. HughE

Philadelphia

Ideas For Table Settings for Diner en Blanc

Ideas For Table Settings for Diner en Blanc

Last month Diner en Blanc held their preview party at the Reading Terminal Market. It was there that guests got their first taste of the food, decor and atmosphere of what they’ll experience on August 18. There was also a display of nearly a dozen tables which competed for the best decorated. During Diner en Blanc, there is a similar table decorating contest, as well as a best dressed contest.table

Diner en Blanc Philadelphia returns on Thursday, August 18, 2016 to a secret location revealed just moments before the picnic begins. In honor of the event’s fifth anniversary, the très chic picnic will expand to 5,000 guests in 2016, tying New York City as the largest in America and one of the largest in the world.

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Part mystery tour, part pop-up feast and part je ne sais quoi, Dîner en Blanc is a magical evening that celebrates and re-purposes public space. Bystanders will witness groups of guests all dressed in white gathering at specific rallying points all across the city. Guided by volunteers, these groups will then converge on a unique and unexpected setting, travelling by foot, bus and/or public transportation. Guests will bring their own gourmet feast, table, chairs and table setting. Over the course of the evening, they will eat and celebrate amid music, entertainment and dancing.

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Diner en Blanc was brought to Philadelphia by co-hosts Natanya DiBona and Kayli Moran. Each year they coordinate the event with a team of volunteers which this year will top 160 (including the annual planning team, table leaders and on-site event support).

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Past surprise locations for Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia have included 2012’s Logan Circle, 2013’s JFK Bridge, 2014’s Avenue of the Arts and 2015’s The Navy Yards, Marine Parade Grounds. The event has grown from 1,200 in 2012, to 2,550 in 2013, to 3,500 in 2014, and 4,500 in 2015. For 2016, DiBona and Moran have big plans for the biggest year yet, with 5,000 guests. HD1_9414 (Custom) table   table  table

Judging the tables: Siobban Reardon, Phila Library, Brooke Thomas, CBS3Philly, and Brian Cawley, Lord & Taylor, judge one of the dozen Diner en Blanc tables at the preview party HD1_9463 (Custom)

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Séda Alexandrian, Touché and Lisa Silveri, Manager at DRANOFF Properties Realty, Inc.

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Chef Jacqueline Peccina Kelly and Laura Eaton with their winning table which was inspired by the Titian R. Peale Butterfly and Moth Collection housed at The Academy of Natural Sciences.