Discovering Fête en Blanc
Last summer in Lancaster, I found myself feeling limited as to what to do since school was no longer in session. Franklin & Marshall College’s campus was deserted, there were no clubs or events being run by my school, additionally being 20 meant that I couldn’t take part in a lot of shows and concerts with my older friends.
This summer, however, I was excited to be able to explore Lancaster City in a new way. Now 21, I found myself enjoying the live music at Tellus360 (particularly Big Boy Brass on Sundays) and the adjacent Altana Rooftop Lounge. Looking for some variety, something new, I turned to my computer in search of something to shake things up.
One day while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across something I’d never heard of, an event called Fête en Blanc. I was confused at first, not quite sure what it was from the photos of Lancastrians wearing all white at what looked like a fancy dinner party. A visit to the event’s website, http://feteennoirelancaster.org/fete-en-blanc/fete-en-blanc-gallery/, would reveal that it was a pop-up all-white summer party inspired by a French tradition called Dîner en Blanc held in Paris.
Held this year on Thursday, June 28, the location of the event remained a secret until noon of the preceding day. A 21-and-over event with a limited number of available tickets, Fête en Blanc carried an air of exclusivity and decadence that increased upon finding out that the event would have a mystery live music performance and that the elaborate white outdoor tables, food, and decorations were not provided by the event. Attendees were rather asked to BYOE (Bring Your Own Everything), impressive considering how elaborate some spreads were in the pictures I was seeing.
Intrigued and excited, I and hundreds of others waited at hour intervals from 9 a.m. to noon in the hopes of winning tickets in the online lottery. Within 10 seconds of the link going live, the first batch was sold. And the second. And the third. Luckily, I was able to get tickets during the last time slot, and a week later I picked up my tickets from a stand in Buchanan Park. I found myself surprised days later when the location of the event was announced, and it was none other than Sponaugle-Williamson Field at Franklin & Marshall College, my alma mater less than 30 feet from my apartment.
The event did not disappoint. Dressed in white and carrying an arm full of food from Oka Asian Fusion, I was greeted by a retro sign surrounded by hanging lights and entered to the sight of hundreds of people in white having dinner and waving white napkins for a toast. For most of the night there was an instrumental group playing a combination of pop covers and more classical sounding pieces before Big Boy Brass (the very same from Tellus360) made an appearance as well. As thousands of people sat eating in style and enjoying the music, I was surprised and delighted to see a bright red helicopter dip low overhead, releasing a profusion of confetti on the cheering crowd.
I would highly recommend the event to anyone interested in good company, good food and good music. While the band and location ended up being very familiar to me, the novelty of the event made everything seem new and fun. Keep a look out on their website for information on next year’s event or for Fête en Noir, a winter all-black equivalent of their summertime celebration. My only regret is that I’ll be graduating from college next year and may not be able to attend Fête en Blanc 2019.