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TODAY'S PAPER

Dîner en Blanc returns to Long Island for al fresco party in mystery location

White-garbed revelers do the traditional "napkin twirl" to inaugurate the first Long Island Diner en Blanc at the de Seversky Mansion in Old Westbury on Oct. 6, 2017. / Megan Miller

Long Island’s most intriguing al-fresco-fancy-dress-mystery-ball is back. Last year more than 1,200 white-garbed people attended the Island’s first Dîner en Blanc at the de Seversky Mansion in Old Westbury, dining on the lawn to the strains of opera which, as the evening wore on, gave way to a DJ spinning hip-hop, techno dub step and R&B classics.

This year’s dinner takes place on Saturday, Sept. 15. Where? Can’t tell you. One of the hallmarks of the Dîner en Blanc is that its location is only announced the day of the event.

If you attended last year, you will already have received an invitation. For novices, registration opens Wednesday and you have until Aug. 22 to sign up at longisland.dinerenblanc.com/register. Within 24 hours of registering you will be notified by email whether you have been invited. (Spaces are limited.)

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This is a dinner that asks a lot of the diners. Once you complete the registration process, you will be apprised of all fees, rules and procedures, but here’s an overview:

  • You must wear white. No beige or cream or ivory. And shoes are not exempt.
  • The price is $49 a person, which does not include food or drinks. Once you have paid, the fee is nonrefundable. Dîner en Blanc is a rain-or-shine event and if it looks like rain, bring a raincoat, umbrella or poncho — as long as it is white or clear.
  • When you register, you will choose a departure location where you will leave your car and board a bus. On the evening of Sept. 15, you’ll report to that departure location equipped with a table and two white chairs, and a tote or picnic basket (white!) containing a white tablecloth and napkins, white china dishes, metal cutlery and glass stemware.
  • You can bring your own food (any color is fine) or purchase a meal on the website in advance. There are options ranging from chicken Milanese ($80 for two) to filet mignon to a full clambake ($125 for two), plus appetizers, caviar, cheese and dessert. You cannot bring your own beverages; bottles of wine are priced from $20 for a simple rosé from Provence to $150 for a Pommery Cuvée Louise Brut Champagne.
  • After dinner, there will be dancing. After dancing, you will put all your trash in a white plastic bag (which you bring) in order to leave the mystery location in the same condition in which you found it. Then board the bus to return to your car.

The White Dinner was started in Paris by François Pasquier in 1988, and over the years more than 100,000 diners have convened at events all over the world, from Atlanta to Mumbai to Chicago, Shanghai to Vancouver to Zagreb. New York City’s first dinner was in 2011; this year it will be held on Sept. 17, two days after Long Island’s.

For more information, go to longisland.dinerenblanc.com.

Read about last year’s dinner (and see video) here.