Since arriving in Vancouver four years ago and exploding in popularity faster than our city’s burgeoning marijuana industry, Dîner en Blanc has become the must-hate event of the summer.
Everybody seems to have his or her own reason for trash-talking this picnic. But most seem to boil down to some variation of one simple grievance: they don’t get to go.
The 2014 wait list for Dîner en Blanc invitations was more than 30,000 names long. This year, organizers aren’t saying if that number has grown. Regardless, there are a whole lot of people in Vancouver who will end up disappointed as they miss out on the outdoor gala scheduled for August 25.
But why all the hate? A bunch of good-looking people meeting up for a meal is probably hurting you less than that grasshole next door whose lawn is looking green while Vancouver sweats through Stage 3 water restrictions.
On that note, here’s a few reasons not to hate on Dîner en Blanc.
First, it’s not a cash grab. At $37 per person plus an $8 membership (up from $35 in 2014—gasp), a night out with the Dîner crowd is cheaper than a quarter-ounce of “medicinal” Purple Kush. Considering this ticket comes with a view, you can’t really call it a gouge—even if you do have to bring your own food or pay extra for a catered meal.
Dîner en Blanc is exclusive, but not by design. Talk with organizers about the wait list and they go on endlessly about measures they’re taking to squeeze in as many people as they can. Yes, it’s tough to get on the list for Dîner. And, yes, it can seem a bit unfair when it feels like everybody you know who is going seems to know someone who knows someone in the know.
But trouble getting tickets is pretty much a straightforward case of supply and demand. Since it first arrived in Vancouver in 2012, this event has expanded from roughly 2,000 seats to 3,200 last year to 4,500 in 2015. And organizers say the event will continue to grow, slowly. That’s progress, but people are always going to be left out. There aren’t a whole lot of locations in Vancouver where you can reserve a table for 30,000.
And even if you don’t get a seat this year, you can still enjoy brilliant photographs, which are a sure thing. For one night, you can safely surf Facebook and Instagram without tormenting yourself over your best friend’s baby pictures and questions of what you’re doing with your thirties. Enjoy social media again. A big chunk of the Dîner crowd does a pretty terrific job dressing up for the evening. And with water in every direction and the mountains behind us, Vancouver isn’t so bad-looking either. If you can’t go, you can still enjoy the view through your iPhone.
Or go out and find something else to do. There’s no shortage of activities in Vancouver on a warm August night. For example, the superhero blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron is playing for free at Second Beach in Stanley Park that night.
Finally, there is nothing proprietary about Dîner besides the name. If you want to have a picnic somewhere, go find a park. Vancouver’s got plenty of them. And if you want to wear white while you’re sipping vino out of a red Solo cup, nobody is going to stop you. Call it Dîner en Whatever Colour You Want, and bon appétit.