When 1,700 people converge on a public street in Atlanta, there is only one thing to do. Shut down the street, sit down for dinner and dance all night.
The scenario, Atlanta’s version of the Paris-born tradition “Diner en Blanc,” took place on Peachtree Street under the iconic marquee of the Fabulous Fox Theatre.
The concept began 27 years ago in Paris when a few friends met up for an intimate dinner at the Eiffel Tower. They dressed in white to identify each other in the crowd of tourists. It has since become an international phenomenon which takes place on five continents and in more than a dozen U.S. cities.
Arriving by chartered bus to an undisclosed location, hundreds of guests dressed in white carry picnic tables complete with centerpieces, meals and beverages, seating and more to pre-designated spaces.
The evening includes synchronized moments such as a pre-dinner napkin waving and post-meal sparklers which signal the opening of the dance floor. Guests are treated to live entertainment (this year included performances by singer Rebecca Downs and Ashanti Floyd, “The Mad Violinist”) and a DJ.
Attendance has doubled since last year’s inaugural event at Millennial Gate, said local host Donae Burston. Each year, the event grows to accommodate more guests. Next year, 2,500 attendees are expected.
So how do you get in on the fun? It’s not easy.
Invitations are sent out each year in waves with priority to those who attended this year and some VIPs, said Burston. Tickets cost $45 and reserve your transportation to and from the event as well as your dining space.
Here’s how to increase your chances of getting an invitation:
If you attended this year, you are automatically invited for the following year. Tickets cost $45 (though the price may change from year to year).
Anyone who did not attend but who knows someone who attended can ask that person to serve as a sponsor for the next year.
Score a last-minute ticket by checking the event Facebook page for someone who may be selling their tickets.
Sign up for the waitlist at atlanta.dinerenblanc.info. The waiting list is currently up to 7,000, Burston said. So this option could be a long shot.
If you miss the event in your home city, you can try participating in a different cities. Check the website for listings.