Originally started years ago in Paris, diner en blanc, or the “white dinner,” was created for friends to come together to enjoy a small picnic while dressed in all white attire. Now the diner en blanc assembles nearly 15,000 people each year all across the world. The event is held every year in Paris, and a collection of other cities and places such as New York, Barcelona, São Paulo, and Dubai.
Next Friday, Lehigh will host its own version of diner en blanc, a pop-up gala under the stars with dinner and live music, to celebrate Lehigh’s sesquicentennial.
Two Lehigh staff members, Lindsay Lebresco and Linda Harbrect, have been planning Lehigh’s version of the event, known as the Diner en Blanc and Brown, for a while now, and are excited to host it at Lehigh.
“(The event) was dreamed up over a year ago by myself and (Harbrect), as the popularity of the original diner en blanc was growing,” said Lebresco, a member of Lehigh’s sesquicentennial planning committee and member of the Lehigh After Dark committee.
Over the course of an evening at the diner en blanc, guests are brought together from diverse backgrounds and a love for beauty and good taste. For the Diner en Blanc and Brown, the Lehigh After Dark committee and the sesquicentennial planning committee wanted to make it into a special event in order to show their appreciation for Lehigh’s 150 years of excellence.
“(We) felt like this once in a lifetime event would be a great way to celebrate Lehigh’s 150th anniversary, provide students with a fun social option for a Friday night and create an event that would bring members of the campus community together,” said Harbrect, a member of the Council for Equity and Community in Lehigh’s Student Affairs Department.
In addition to all of the committees working to make the Diner en Blanc and Brown a memorable night, this Lehigh After Dark event is happening in conjunction with the Office of the President and the Provost as well as the Council for Equity and Community. Student affairs, dining services and student auxiliary services will also be supporting the event in a very big way to ensure the success of the event.
The location of the dinner will be kept a secret until the night of the event. People who sign up for the dinner are given directions to a transport location, which then takes the dinner attendees to the secret location of the actual meal.
This tradition will be continued for the Diner en Blanc and Brown. The location of the event has not been revealed, but it has been confirmed that the dinner will be somewhere on Lehigh’s campus. Also, unlike the original diner en blanc, attendees do not need to bring their own table, chairs, and food – that will all be provided for, along with live music and a few other surprises, according to Lebresco.
“The Diner en Blanc and Brown seems like a really good way to show appreciation towards Lehigh, especially during the university’s 150 year anniversary,” Kaitlyn Latuska, ’17, said.
Latuska also said the whole idea is original to campus, and that the idea of having a secret location is “an adventure around Lehigh.”
Students are expected to wear all white, with some brown highlights to show off Lehigh pride. Tickets went on sale Sept. 11 for $5 and will only be sold to the first 500 registrants. All proceeds will go to Colleges Against Cancer and Lehigh’s Dance Marathon.
Transportation will be provided from Grace Hall which begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 25, and students will be returned to Grace Hall at the latest by 10 p.m.