An enchanted evening: More than a thousand guests turn out for Albuquerque’s second Le Dîner en Blanc - Albuquerque Journal

An enchanted evening: More than a thousand guests turn out for Albuquerque’s second Le Dîner en Blanc

From chic to cheeky, guests were decked out in all white for Le Dîner en Blanc.

The all-white themed dinner party known as Le Dîner en Blanc began in Paris more than a quarter of a century ago, and has spread across the globe. Taking place for the second time in the Duke City, the outdoor event at the National Hispanic Cultural Center drew about 1,200 guests dressed head-to-toe in white.

Participants meet at a designated spot to board a bus to be whisked away to an unknown location that is in a public place. Guests are required to bring chairs, a table and table décor – all white, of course – and a picnic basket.

Dinner officially starts with everyone waving their white cloth napkins, and is followed by socializing, dancing, sparklers and a surprise “wow factor.” This year’s wow factor was a performance by the Ballet Repertory Theater of New Mexico that began atop the lofty steps at the NHCC, descending elegantly to the ground level of the soiree.

The 1,200 guests fire up their white sparklers. (Joel Wigelsworth/Albuquerque Journal)
The 1,200 guests fire up their white sparklers. (Joel Wigelsworth/Albuquerque Journal)

“The energy in the air is just so electric. Everyone is thrilled to be here,” said Kristi Lawrence, the public relations person at Thursday night’s event. “It’s a celebration of life; it’s a celebration of Albuquerque; it’s a celebration of being alive.”

“It’s a nice night to get together for nothing more than the sake of getting together as a community,” said Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry as he surveyed the spectacle. “Albuquerque is a very interesting and unique place, this is an interesting and unique event, and so I think the two go together very well.”

Tammi Jaramillo and her husband, James, were enjoying the evening. “We’re very much into promoting the community, and that’s what this event is all about … so we’re really excited to be here and be part of it,” she said. James Jaramillo, who didn’t want to attend last year, ended up getting very into the affair and even designing their table’s decorations. “He’s already planning for next year,” his wife said.

Dancers from Ballet Repertory Theater of New Mexico, dancing on the steps of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, provided the “wow factor” at Thursday’s dinner. (Joel Wigelsworth/Albuquerque Journal)
Dancers from Ballet Repertory Theater of New Mexico, dancing on the steps of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, provided the “wow factor” at Thursday’s dinner. (Joel Wigelsworth/Albuquerque Journal)

Desirae Anslover, one of the dancers in the wow factor, said rehearsing for six weeks and being part of the event is amazing. Used to performing indoors for 600 people, the dancers found the event and venue both challenging and rewarding. “It’s a whole new environment for us,” Anslover said. “To be able to perform and then mingle with our guests is something spectacular that we’re not used to.”

“It has turned out to be absolutely spectacular,” Lawrence said near the end of the evening. “It’s camaraderie; it’s community; it’s elegance; it’s celebration.”

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