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Secret is Out: Hundreds of San Diegans to Pop Up for Dîner en Blanc

The picnic event that originated in Paris 24 years ago is making its way to America's Finest City.

Heard of a flash mob?  How about a flash picnic?

It may be after Labor Day, but hundreds of San Diegans will soon break the ultimate fashion rule by dressing in white. Dîner en Blanc, the secret pop-up picnic imported from Paris, will make its San Diego debut Thursday, Oct. 18.

The event—which has taken place in more than 20 cities across five continents since launching 24 years ago by François Pasquier—is an all-white-dress affair where guests bring baskets of food, tables and chairs to a picnic.

The location is secret until the actual day.

“It’s a social gathering—a way for close friends and family to get together at a pop-up event,” said Frank Christian of H Events, organizing the San Diego event.

Who can attend?

Christian listed three ways—by having attended a previous Dîner en Blanc, by being invited by a friend who attended a previous Dîner en Blanc or by registering online.

“It’s all about relationships and six degrees of separation,” he said. “It's like the speakeasies or the underground parties—you wait until someone tells you.”

Christian said he expects anywhere from 600 to 1,200 San Diegans to take part in the Dîner en Blanc—the second in the United States, following a first in New York City. The hundreds of participants also have the option of buying pre-fixed meals for the four-hour event.

Keith Lord, the executive chef of the event who is offering three types of meals, said he’s dabbled in similar events, but Dîner en Blanc [which translates as “dinner in white”] is unique.

“We’ve seen film footage of it, heard about it and wanted to be a part of it,” said Lord who has about 26 years in the food industry. “The idea of a pop-up picnic is just intriguing enough.”

While Jayla Siciliano of wine spritzer company Bonaffair said she heard the “cool buzz” surrounding the event and thought it would be “perfect” for her company to get involved.

“I’m excited to see all the people up for something new and up for some adventure,” she said. “It’s drawing people who are trying something unique and out of the ordinary.”

Tickets for Dîner en Blanc are $25 per person. Guests can also purchase picnic baskets, that feed two, ranging from $43 to $63. For more information or to register, visit sandiego.dinerenblanc.info.

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