Ce Soir Noir: Free all-black picnic returns to Crab Park on same evening as Dîner en Blanc 2017

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      For the third consecutive year, Ce Soir Noir is returning to Crab Park to offer Vancouverites a free tongue-in-cheek alternative to the bafflingly popular Dîner en Blanc.

      Taking place on August 24—the same evening as 2017's Dîner en Blanc—the self-described “community picnic event” and “picnic-based art installation” asks attendees to dress entirely in black and to bring food and drink to share among friends, plus a blanket that they can sit on.

      The soiree kicks off at 5 p.m., though organizers are encouraging guests to “show up whenever you feel like it, but probably when you’re hungry, feeling pretty loose and you’ve got a few decent looking friends with you who are dressed toque to toes in the blackest clothing from your walk-in closet.”

      While Ce Soir Noir is billed as family-friendly, dogs are not permitted because, as the coordinators put it, “no creature in history has ever loved picnics more and things could get a little dicey.” Open flames are also prohibited. Attendees are responsible for disposing of any waste and recyclables that are produced.

      Like past years, cash donations and “child-oriented” non-perishable food items, such as juice boxes and fruit snacks, will be accepted onsite on behalf of Backpack Buddies, a Vancouver-based nonprofit that feeds underserved kids in the Downtown Eastside.

      Founded by local artists Graeme Berglund and George Vergette, Ce Soir Noir has attracted over 2,000 Vancouverites to Crab Park since 2013. “Ce Soir Noir was born from the idea of creating a massive public installation in black,” said Berglund in a media release, “but has quickly become something more meaningful: a catalyst for dialogue around culture and inclusivity in Vancouver.” 

      Last year, the duo decided to hold the event two weeks after its all-white counterpart to give Vancouverites a “better opportunity” to attend both. This time, however, it looks like locals will have to choose between the light and dark side.

      Not sure what to expect at either Dîner en Blanc or Ce Soir Noir? Check out the video below, where we spoke to attendees at the two events in 2015.

      Amanda Siebert