This weekend's PopUp Dinner was modeled after the Le Diner en Blanc, which originated in France 25 years ago. The original event was planned by Francois Pasquier for a handful of friends. The idea is that a group of people dressed in white (originally this concept was employed to make it easier to spot each other on location) set up a fancy, elaborate picnic in a public location and enjoy an evening together. A handful of hours later, the party disappears, leaving no trace of the festivities.
There are many variations on the concept happening all over the world now. This year, my mom and I decided to host a table. Event organizers kept the location secret until a few hours beforehand so we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at our PopUp Dinner location: Boom Island Park. What a view! That is the Minneapolis skyline in the back. Just past the tables is a riverwalk and then the Mississippi River.
My mom arrived first to start the set up. Part of what makes this evening "chic" is the table decorations. This was definitely my mom's area to shine! No paper plates or solo cups were to be found on site! It was not that sort of picnic. Not at all.
When I originally heard about the event, I thought it sounded wonderful, but I have no desire to decorate a table so I didn't think I'd go. I passed on the information to mom since I know she loves arranging table presentations. I thought she might like to attend. We quickly realized we were the perfect pair for an event like this: she spearheaded the table and I organized the food!
We sent out the invitation to some friends and overnight had filled our table of 8!
I am grateful to count these fun and adventurous women as a part of my circle!
The weather was absolutely perfect and contributed to the overall magic of the evening.
Before long, there were 500 people at the park, all wearing white and smiles on their faces!
We scoped out other people's tables and this one, which happened to be right next to us, wins the creepiest centerpiece award...hands down.
With a collective swirl of the white napkin, the dining commenced.
Part of the fun of the event was seeing what other people had prepared for food. A diner from a nearby table came by to make use of our salt and pepper. We traded him salt and pepper for a photo :)
We had a feast at our table! It was a collective effort, with everyone contributing something to the table.
The instructions for the evening said to prepare 3 courses: appetizer, entree and dessert. Here is a shot of my entree plate.
Our full table of fabulous outdoor diners (clockwise from the left): Jessica, Me, Deb, Kathy, Dallas, Missy, Charleen and Jamie.
Some of the women at our table were strangers at the start of the evening, but that didn't stop us from sharing some (dignified) shenanigans.
As the sun went down, the music shifted from a live jazz/lounge band to a DJ, the tables shifted from sunlit to candlelit and the mood went from dinner party to dance party.
As the evening drew to a close, a few lanterns were sent off into the night and then everyone packed up. I overheard many comments about plans for next year, so I am pretty certain everyone else had as wonderful and memorable of an evening as our table did. Cheers!