Dinner in White promises another ‘spectacular’ setting

Guests at last year’s Simply White Dinner on Lochiel Street wave napkins to signify dining is about to begin. Photo courtesy, Bisi Alawode

Cathy Dobson

Sarnians are invited to participate in a mysterious foodie event that’s quickly developing a reputation for elegance and fun.

It’s mysterious because no one knows where it will be held until hours before it starts. It’s elegant because everyone wears nothing but white and brings white cloth napkins and table décor.

The third Simply White Dinner will be held July 13. Ticket sales for the unique summer event have already outstripped last year’s, when 220 diners shut down Lochiel Street from Christina to Front.

In 2016, long tables draped in white linen were set up on the street overlooking the St. Clair River.

A live band played. The weather was good. And Simply White participants dined on picnics featuring everything from lobster to sandwiches.

“Of course, we can’t say where this year’s will be but it will be another spectacular setting,” promises organizer Kelly-Lynn Musico.

She and Wendy Ghobril, Rebecca Reed and Kim Szaefer have spent the past six months voluntarily working out details of this single night, which goes ahead rain or shine. Guests are encouraged to bring clear or white raingear just in case.

Musico heard about al fresco community dining experiences from her sister who attended one in Kelowna, B.C. several years ago.

The concept was so appealing, Musico organized Sarnia’s first in 2014 without ever having been to one.

“I had my vision and guests took a chance on it,” she said.  That inaugural year, 180 people showed up and created a spectacle as they made their way on foot to an outdoor patio on the waterfront, dressed in chic white dresses, white boas, long white gloves and even fascinator hats.

“It really sounds corny but I enjoy seeing people happy,” said Musico. “I like event planning and bringing people together.

“It brings me joy.”

The Simply White Dinner is modelled after a worldwide event that started in Paris more than 25 years ago and is now held annually in at least 40 cities across the globe.

However, Musico has not applied for official status.  That, she said, would mean Sarnia’s Simply White Dinner would need to adhere to strict guidelines and ticket prices would go up.

“We don’t want to do that. We want it to remain accessible for everyone,” she said. That’s also why she doesn’t want to make it an event to raise money for charity.

Tickets are $58 per couple this year and must be purchased in pairs. Attendance will be cut off at 300.

Attendees are required to bring their own napkins, china, non-plastic cutlery and white centrepieces.

Organizers provide tables, tablecloths and chairs. Unlike other years, no meals can be purchased.  This is an elegant picnic, so pack everything for a three-course meal.  Diners have been known to bring antipasto, charcuterie trays, tapas, salads, desserts, and more. Shopping local is recommended.

Wine is available at an additional cost by ordering online. Music will be provided by the Frank Brennan jazz ensemble.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Simply White Dinner

WHERE: That’s a secret. Diners will be told a meeting place two days in advance.

WHEN: Thursday, July 13, rain or shine. 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

TICKETS: $58 per pair.  Wine is extra. Available online at www.simplywhitedinner.com until June 26.

The Arts Journal highlights events that contribute to the cultural fabric of our community. Contact Cathy Dobson with your ideas at 226-932-0985 or cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca.