The inaugural Okanagan White Dinner happened Sept. 9 and was a huge success. My committee team and I had a true battle with the elements setting up that day, but in the end, neither earth, wind nor fire could keep the spirit of this Parisian-style pop up picnic down.
High winds during setup later in the day not only caused our setup team headaches with tablecloths it was also the instigator of Peachland’s disastrous fire, spreading it into dangerous rural territory.
The first call was from friends, who needed to cancel in order to get home, pack and get their dogs to safety; the second was sadly from our shuttle driver bringing 25 of our white merrymakers to the party from down south. The bus was stopped and turned around by police. The good news? This group’s unstoppable spirit landed them at one of the shuttler’s homes and they proceeded to pop up their own party in sync with ours via cyberspace. It was so heartwarming viewing the photos of the mini white party waving their napkins in the air — the traditional signal that the group approves of the secret location and to let the party begin.
The event sold out, with 200 people attending this beautiful picnic, and the Okanagan could not have looked more glamorous. Attendees were in full white — from white tuxes, to hats and fascinators, feathers and glitz, together all toasting the night with glasses of bubbly on a backdrop of lake, mountains (and unfortunately red sky) — we were a Gatsby-esque delight. And, disappearing as quickly as the flash mob arrived — just as the original organizer François Pasquier over 20 years ago planned — it felt like a dream. I can’t wait until next year.
We are in negotiations with the international committee from Le Diner en Blanc to make our Okanagan event an official part of their international organization. We will then hopefully become Le Diner Okanagan next year, allowing the world to gaze upon our beautiful valley and its fabulous inhabitants. Le yay! Check out their website for details on this event: www.dinerenblanc.info.
Part of the excitement of this event is that it is invite only, so sign up for next year’s waiting list online now: http://2013whitedinner.eventbrite.com.
Sounds like another magical night is on the horizon. On Sept. 29, Stag’s Hollow Winery is hosting a fabulous event catered by valley favourite, Joy Road Catering. An autumn celebration, the dinner paired with library vintages will be “peppered with tales from the vineyard and cellar as stars emerge overhead.” Seating is limited so do reserve early to avoid disappointment. Tickets are $125 and can be ordered at www.stagshollowwinery.com or by calling 250-497-6162.
Jennifer Schell is the editor of B.C. Food and Wine Trails magazine.