Dîner en Blanc in Montreal in 2009. Held in 20 cities, the popular event will be in San Diego. Courtesy photo
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Large pop-up picnic coming to San Diego

COAST CITIES — Every year, thousands of Parisians dress in white and gather for what can be best be described as an impromptu picnic. The idea has since been exported to locations like New York City and Montreal. And now locals will get a taste Oct. 18 with the San Diego debut of Dîner en Blanc. 

As the story goes, the flash-mob supper was born in Paris in 1988. After being abroad for several years, François Pasquier held a dinner party to reconnect with old friends. So many people wanted to come to the party that he asked them to meet at the Bois de Boulogne dressed in white, so they could all find each other. Today, as many as 15,000 people convene at public spaces in the city for Dîner en Blanc, and the idea has spread to 20 cities across five continents.

San Diego was chosen to host Dîner en Blanc because it’s a “food-driven city,” among other reasons, according to Meredith Bell, director of business development at H Events, the main organizer behind the event.

“San Diego boasts an active populace that cares a lot about food,” Bell said. “That’s why it was picked.”

For those interested, here’s how it works: There are 1,000 tickets, each going for $25, available. Sign up on a waiting list online at sandiego.dinerenblanc.info. Beginning in early October, invitations will be released, with preference going to those who have attended previous Dîner en Blanc events.

Upon purchasing a ticket, guests can select one of three pick-up locations throughout San Diego. On the day of the event, guests will meet at the pickup location and a shuttle will take them to site of Dîner en Blanc, meaning the location will remain a mystery until arrival.

Attendees are asked to dress entirely in white and bring a picnic basket of food, as well as a white table, chairs and any other necessary items. As the event date nears, gourmet dinners and fine wines can also be purchased in advance online.

When the event concludes a few hours later, guests pack up all of their belongings, leaving no trace of the night behind.