More than 1,200 people dressed in white celebrated Long Island’s inaugural Le Dîner en Blanc—a chic pop-up gourmet picnic and dance party held at mystery locations worldwide—Friday in Old Westbury.
As is tradition for the 30-year-old event, participants met at rendezvous points and were unaware of the party’s location until they were bused into NYIT de Seversky Mansion, where caterers, classical musicians and other performers awaited their arrival. Once revelers set up their tables on the mansion lawn, the announcer declared “bon appetite,” prompting the traditional group napkin wave that signaled it was time to dance.
“The night is all about surprises everything from the destination to guests to entertainment is a secret until it unfolds,” said Shanoy Skeete, one of three hosts of the event.
François Pasquier devised Le Dîner en Blanc, which has been held in more than 70 iconic locales worldwide such as the Eiffel Tower and in over 30 cities, including New York City, Washington, D.C., Montreal and San Juan, since starting in Paris in 1988.
Considering the number of women in white dresses, men in white suits and people wearing masks, veils, wigs, feather boas and tiaras, someone stumbling upon the event without any of the backstory could have confused the event for either a mass wedding or a masquerade party.
“I think the mystique is what attracted me the most,” Nicole Turner, 40, of Westbury, said as the festivities were getting underway. “I didn’t know what to expect.”
Moses, who volunteered to help with the event but declined to give his last name, was equally surprised to see how it all unfolded.
“It was more extravagant than I was expecting,” he said. “It was awesome watching people set up their tables up… It’s work to eat, that’s what caught me off guard.”
Besides Skeete, the LI version of the event was also hosted by fellow publicists and event organizers Donyshia Boston-Hill and Bridget O’Brien. Sponsors included The Garden City Hotel, Discover Long Island, Lord & Taylor Manhasset, Vera Moore Cosmetics, the Nassau Museum of Art, Bethpage Polo Park, Sydney Sweets, 90.3 FM – WHPC, Banfi Wines and Long Island Press.
For future event announcements, visit longisland.dinerenblanc.com