Author Topic: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc  (Read 3665 times)

StarBright

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Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« on: September 28, 2018, 07:20:10 AM »
I'm going to a Diner en Blanc tonight. It is unmustachian as hell.

I am really excited about it!

For those unfamiliar, this article sums up the worst of it:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/why-do-people-hate-diner-en-blanc-the-word-pretentious-keeps-coming-up/2016/08/24/3639f2c6-6629-11e6-be4e-23fc4d4d12b4_story.html?utm_term=.74e9c5b582a7

I love DIY communal events, none of my friends do, so I'm willing to pay to get the experience :)

But also - it is pretty frickin' ridiculous.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2018, 07:23:56 AM by StarBright »

dcheesi

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2018, 08:03:58 AM »
So basically, it's what happens when a Mustachian meetup blows up and turns into its absolute antithesis. A cautionary tale, to be sure!

faithless

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2018, 08:27:14 AM »
So they charge you 45 USD to eat your own picnic?! And you can't drink beer or mixed drinks, only buy their wine?

What larks.

carolinap

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2018, 08:49:30 AM »
I'm going to a Diner en Blanc tonight. It is unmustachian as hell.

I am really excited about it!

For those unfamiliar, this article sums up the worst of it:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/why-do-people-hate-diner-en-blanc-the-word-pretentious-keeps-coming-up/2016/08/24/3639f2c6-6629-11e6-be4e-23fc4d4d12b4_story.html?utm_term=.74e9c5b582a7

I love DIY communal events, none of my friends do, so I'm willing to pay to get the experience :)

But also - it is pretty frickin' ridiculous.

Why not do it on your on, with your family?
Based on the description of the event, it doesn't sound very "communal", it looks much more like a networking event

OtherJen

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2018, 09:04:55 AM »
I donít understand this. Letís see if I have the facts straight. So you pay the cost of a decent restaurant meal to attend (assuming youíre allowed the privilege of doing so) but you have to bring your own food, tableware, and furniture, pay the organizers to drink alcohol that might not even be your preference, wear a uniform, and do all of this even if itís pouring rain?

I still donít understand it. Why is this fun?

LifeHappens

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2018, 09:20:47 AM »
I would be genuinely interested in knowing more about your attraction to this event. Is it a bucket list kind of thing? I do hope you enjoy it and have good weather.

OtherJen

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2018, 09:30:31 AM »
I would be genuinely interested in knowing more about your attraction to this event. Is it a bucket list kind of thing? I do hope you enjoy it and have good weather.

And if the OP doesn't have good weather, I hope he or she brings a uniform-standard umbrella and poncho...

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2018, 09:54:03 AM »
I love weird fun things, and DIY communal, but that one doesnít attract me. But thatís only because I donít do well with sitting in a chair, being stuck in one spot for an entire event, owning white things, or eating soggy food.

The article links to the Mustachian version, though: https://604now.com/events/ce-soir-noir-returns-vancouver-2016 :)

Indexer

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2018, 10:33:09 AM »
To each his own.

I'm not interested in this, but I go to local concerts where you don't know the location until 24 hours out and you don't know who is playing until you get there. People bring their own chairs or blankets, wine, snacks, and listen to small bands.

People waste a lot more money on things not this interesting. It's an interesting concept and you might meet interesting people.

OtherJen

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2018, 10:39:53 AM »
To each his own.

I'm not interested in this, but I go to local concerts where you don't know the location until 24 hours out and you don't know who is playing until you get there. People bring their own chairs or blankets, wine, snacks, and listen to small bands.

People waste a lot more money on things not this interesting. It's an interesting concept and you might meet interesting people.

I think I'm most confused about having to pay so much yet bring all of your own kit, plus all the restrictions. It doesn't sound fun to me, but you're absolutely right, to each their own.

I participate in a non-partisan political organization and a couple of local musical organizations, which I'm sure would be absolutely not fun for many people.

mm1970

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2018, 10:55:40 AM »
To each his own.

I'm not interested in this, but I go to local concerts where you don't know the location until 24 hours out and you don't know who is playing until you get there. People bring their own chairs or blankets, wine, snacks, and listen to small bands.

People waste a lot more money on things not this interesting. It's an interesting concept and you might meet interesting people.

I think I'm most confused about having to pay so much yet bring all of your own kit, plus all the restrictions. It doesn't sound fun to me, but you're absolutely right, to each their own.

I participate in a non-partisan political organization and a couple of local musical organizations, which I'm sure would be absolutely not fun for many people.
that confuses me also.

Plus, can it really be all that exclusive in Anacostia?  But maybe that area of DC has gentrified since I lived there.

Slee_stack

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2018, 11:08:29 AM »
Add me to the confused list, but I also recognize I like a lot of things that would confuse others just as much.

In the end, its how much enjoyment you get out of it so I hope you have a grand time!

dcheesi

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2018, 11:32:52 AM »
To each his own.

I'm not interested in this, but I go to local concerts where you don't know the location until 24 hours out and you don't know who is playing until you get there. People bring their own chairs or blankets, wine, snacks, and listen to small bands.

People waste a lot more money on things not this interesting. It's an interesting concept and you might meet interesting people.

I think I'm most confused about having to pay so much yet bring all of your own kit, plus all the restrictions. It doesn't sound fun to me, but you're absolutely right, to each their own.

I participate in a non-partisan political organization and a couple of local musical organizations, which I'm sure would be absolutely not fun for many people.
that confuses me also.

Plus, can it really be all that exclusive in Anacostia?  But maybe that area of DC has gentrified since I lived there.
If you're talking about the image caption mentioning Yards Park: yes, the National Yards area has gentrified. Nats Park, and now Audi Field (for DC United soccer), have revitalized the area and led to a huge boom in development.

In any case, the event apparently moves around from year to year, with location held secret to maintain their exclusivity. Seems like the whole point is to have pop-up "elegance" in an essentially random public location, like a flash-mob of pure pretension.

AMandM

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2018, 07:53:13 PM »
OP, please report back!  Was it fun? Was it what you expected/hoped?  Dressing up and having a picnic with fancy food sounds like fun to me, but paying to do that with rules and a crowd of strangers sounds not fun at all, so I'm really curious!

Hadilly

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2018, 11:39:18 PM »
Earlier this year, on our first night in Paris, we were walking back to our hotel and saw a steady stream of people dressed in white and carrying tables, chairs and picnic baskets move past us as they took over a park square on the őle Saint-Louis. It was mesmerizing to see everyone set up quickly, unpack delicious looking food, light candles, and clearly have a blast with friends. It struck me as a lovely, frivolous, civilized DIY extravaganza.

Hope you had fun!

englishteacheralex

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2018, 11:57:11 PM »
Hee hee. I have a very un-mustachian friend who went to the Diner en Blanc this year. She and her husband were practicing their table scape for it. When I first heard about it a few years ago I looked into it and was confused. Wait, you pay but then you have to provide the food? That just sounds like a lot of work for a picnic.

Then unmustachian friend went and posted pictures on social media and I thought maybe I was being too boring and cheap. But thanks to this article, I'm back in the no way Diner en Blanc club.

nnls

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2018, 12:12:38 AM »
I have had friends go to a few here, and they said it was fun. But I never really got the point. Why not just arrange it with your friends and not pay for the privileged?

MgoSam

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2018, 11:57:09 AM »
I hope you have a good time, I'd like to hear your experience.

This isn't something that I would do, but there is plenty of things I do that many here might scoff at so it's not my place to judge. I can see the appeal for some people.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2018, 12:20:03 PM »
Why not just arrange it with your friends...

For me, much fun is in being with strangers -people so far outside of my regular friend circle that we wouldn't end up together even if friends of friends of friends were invited.

But yes to just creating one's own public events (to get the pure strangers), like the Mustachian version linked to above did.

StarBright

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2018, 06:59:13 PM »
Okay - I'm back with a report and happy to answer questions.

I think one of the main reasons the event appeals to me is that my friends and family aren't interested in dressing up and having fancy food. Chili and football is fine but pate and cocktail dresses seem to be a no-go.  I find it more fun to have a party with a group of people (even strangers) than alone. This event was cheaper than most Galas for our local arts institutions.

There is also a strong sense of "play" to it. As someone upthread said, it was frivolous, but also beautiful, like dressing up for Halloween or a costume party (or Cosplay).

I like the mass DIY effort. Yes - we had to pay to go but no one was sitting there waiting for an event to be served up to them. It took planning, effort and commitment from over a thousand people to bring the event off and I find that very neat. In general, it was fun to be with a lot of like-minded people.

So - Did I feel like it was worth the money?
Yes! I was pleasantly surprised. The location was a place I could not have gotten into for a picnic without paying for this event. I was provided transportation, entertainment and entrance to a very cool location as well as a well organized event.

I enjoyed dressing up with my husband, meeting new people, and making and eating a meal that was out of the ordinary for us. My husband also said he enjoyed it more than he expected and asked if we are going back next year.

So there you go - feel free to ask questions, give face punches, whatever :)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 10:23:09 AM by StarBright »

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2018, 07:49:16 PM »
I only LOVE that you and your DH and a bunch of other people had a great time :)))))))

iris lily

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2018, 09:59:04 AM »
Very cool, Star. Glad you had fun. This is something that would appeal to me, too.

Once I went to a birtjday party in an elegant oirdoor space and we were commanded to wear white bynthe virthday girl. i didnt mind, just went to
Goodwill to pick ip a few pieces  of clothing for DH and me.

LifeHappens

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2018, 03:38:08 PM »
I think one of the main reasons the event appeals to me is that my friends and family aren't interested in dressing up and having fancy food. Chili and football is fine but pate and cocktail dresses seem to be a no-go.  I find it more fun to have a party with a group of people (even strangers) than alone. This event was cheaper than most Galas for our local arts institutions.

There is also a strong sense of "play" to it. As someone upthread said, it was frivolous, but also beautiful, like dressing up for Halloween or a costume party (or Cosplay).
That makes a ton of sense. I'm glad you and your spouse enjoyed the event. Also, I think you should wear a cocktail dress to chili and football sometime :)

StarBright

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2018, 07:48:02 AM »
OP, please report back!  Was it fun? Was it what you expected/hoped?  Dressing up and having a picnic with fancy food sounds like fun to me, but paying to do that with rules and a crowd of strangers sounds not fun at all, so I'm really curious!

@AMandM  So to speak specifically to the rules part - I suspect this sort of event is very personality dependent in a lot of ways. We were talking to the couple next to us and the husband was talking about how his wife kept trying to sneak things through that would break the rules - she saw the concept and saw something to rebel against. The husband tended to be a rule follower and he was the one that wanted to attend.

I am a rule follower most of the time. I didn't see the guidelines as something to push back on, but as a challenge. I would also say that organization is both my job and a hobby in a lot of ways (I volunteer to be the wedding planner/organizer for friends and family who hate it because I love it and am GREAT at it). So I saw this long list of rules and thought "what is the most elegant/cheapest way I can do this?" - and it was a really wonderful creative outlet and goal for me for a month.

Because I LOVE organization and planning, seeing over a thousand people surpass the parameters and pull off an event with so many moving parts was incredibly satisfying to me.  My absolutely favorite moment was looking down a row of people and seeing at least a dozen white table cloths floating in the air as people spread them out. It was SO aesthetically pleasing to me :).


AMandM

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2018, 07:50:41 PM »
Thank you, StarBright!  I can definitely see the appeal if you don't have irl friends to dress up with.  In a similar vein, my current teenagers have a crowd of friends who like swing dancing together in each other's basements or driveways, but my older kids paid to go to dance halls.

And I love the image of all the tablecloths floating up in the air together!

StarBright

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2018, 08:42:08 PM »
Thank you, StarBright!  I can definitely see the appeal if you don't have irl friends to dress up with.  In a similar vein, my current teenagers have a crowd of friends who like swing dancing together in each other's basements or driveways, but my older kids paid to go to dance halls.

And I love the image of all the tablecloths floating up in the air together!

The bit about your kids makes me so happy! I also used to dress up and go to dance halls to swing dance when I was in HS! It is a great hobby!

Dicey

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2018, 12:57:38 AM »
I get it, StarBright. I have the hospitality gene, too and love putting on events and attending even bigger ones. We have a gala-type fundraiing event coming up. DH will wear his thrifted tuxedo and I'm renting a dress. We eloped and this event is around the time of our anniversary, so it's fun to get all dressed up with my best guy. Reminds us how smart we were to elope, lol.

We are FI(DH) and FIRE(me) now, so it's also fun to write a big-ass check for a cause we love without batting an eye, just because we can.

elliha

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2018, 01:24:10 AM »
I would like everything but the dressing in white part since I hate the color white. If they did red, pink, blue or black I might have been interested.

PaulMaxime

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2018, 09:21:19 AM »
This happened in a small park literally outside my front door in San Francisco last year.

It looked super cool and fun. I would sign up to go myself in the future!

It was interesting being an observer. Suddenly there was a park full of people dressed in white with all sorts of fancy setups and music.

It all seemed very elegant.

And San Francisco is nothing if not a place where people dress in costumes at the drop of a hat. This was probably one of the tamer events in that regard.

StarBright

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2018, 01:39:00 PM »
This happened in a small park literally outside my front door in San Francisco last year.

It looked super cool and fun. I would sign up to go myself in the future!

It was interesting being an observer. Suddenly there was a park full of people dressed in white with all sorts of fancy setups and music.

It all seemed very elegant.

And San Francisco is nothing if not a place where people dress in costumes at the drop of a hat. This was probably one of the tamer events in that regard.

neat! I haven't been a diner observer but I did once see a parade of people headed to the  Jazz Age Lawn party in NYC and I think that was what hooked me on these communal events.

I went to the one in Indianapolis and it was held at the finish line of the Indianapolis 500 (give or take a few hundred feet) - on the track. It was pretty cool!

BlueHouse

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2018, 04:01:05 PM »

This year was the second time this event happened in my neighborhood, and I'll admit I like to see it (or just all the people traipsing around getting out of the metro, dressed all in white, toting their chairs and linens and picnic supplies).   I am not interested in going, but I like to see a lot of people having fun. 

Here's the 2018 diner en blanc at Nationals Park
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilT384SCbJw

We also have a lot of scavenger hunts, marches, and crazy-themed bike rides, so I often get to see people running around having fun dressed in strange outfits.  I like them all.

For reference, here was my thread on it from a few years ago: 
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/diner-en-blanc/

MgoSam

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2018, 12:13:32 PM »

This year was the second time this event happened in my neighborhood, and I'll admit I like to see it (or just all the people traipsing around getting out of the metro, dressed all in white, toting their chairs and linens and picnic supplies).   I am not interested in going, but I like to see a lot of people having fun. 

Here's the 2018 diner en blanc at Nationals Park
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilT384SCbJw



I love how the video's lone comment mentions the powers of editting. Watching that video reminded me of the promotional video the Frye "Festival" put out.

gatortator

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2018, 12:19:12 PM »
I had never heard of this before I read this thread.  I've thought about it off and on since then and have enjoyed the discussion.  I don't think it belongs in the Antimustaschian category.  The OP has decided what values/goals are important to them and it's cool that they have,  not everybody does.

No need to feel any guilt-- you have spent your money on something that is important to you with low impact on others (ie you're not being cheap and you are cleaning up after yourself) and low  impact on the environment( reusable chairs, tables, LOW PLAStTIC tableware and LOW PACKAGING food in resuable containers). 

Consider the analogy of running in an organized event, perhaps a half marathon to give a best equivalent event length as Diner en Blanc.  There are plenty of threads on the forum about running a race.  You could easily just run 13.1 miles in your neighborhood instead of running in the race but many choose to run in a race, similar to the informal picnic vs organized picnic argument.   Yet, I don't think any appear in the Antimustachian category.  In fact,  I typically see them in the "throw down the gauntlet".   Like Diner en Blanc, the race also has an entry fee where you can't participate without paying.  Security will check that you have a bib.  Course restrictions limit what you can wear.  You can't be late for the start time and the event has a time limit to finish.

But here are the differences-- Races have a huge impact on others and the environment.  Have you see how much trash, discarded clothing, empty cups, gel packets, energy bar wrappers, etc are left behind at the race?  Cleanup takes a long time.  The food and drink packaging is ONE TIME USE ONLY.  Yes running clothes, and shoes are reusable but so are the white clothes as Diner en Blanc. 

But run that race if it is your goal to or attend a Diner en Blanc...  Afterall...

The question is never whether or not someone else's choices are inline with your priorities, but whether or not their actions are inline with their own priorities.

***. This whole argument is void if you are in deep debt.  Debt removal trumps all other values/goals.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 12:21:36 PM by gatortator »

englishteacheralex

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2018, 12:53:33 PM »
Actually, I stopped participating in road races for all of these reasons. It costs $40+ even for most small races geared towards locals. I decided it made a lot more financial sense and mostly scratched the same itch to either participate in a free running club or just run the equivalent distance on my own. This was after around five years of almost monthly race participation. 

marty998

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2018, 01:27:59 PM »
Actually, I stopped participating in road races for all of these reasons. It costs $40+ even for most small races geared towards locals. I decided it made a lot more financial sense and mostly scratched the same itch to either participate in a free running club or just run the equivalent distance on my own. This was after around five years of almost monthly race participation.

I actually think race organisers here are getting the message that costs are getting out of control for some of these events. The next 2 that I've signed up for have been $30-$35 for 10k and 12k, which is a lot better than the usual $50-$70 for those distances.

Next year I am planning to almost run these events monthly, which will add up to a lot of $$$ quickly, but I consider this to be my new way of indulging :)

Trick is perhaps to avoid the big events (like the Sydney City2Surf) and go for the little community ones where there are 500 people instead of 50,000.

StarBright

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2018, 06:10:24 AM »

This year was the second time this event happened in my neighborhood, and I'll admit I like to see it (or just all the people traipsing around getting out of the metro, dressed all in white, toting their chairs and linens and picnic supplies).   I am not interested in going, but I like to see a lot of people having fun. 

Here's the 2018 diner en blanc at Nationals Park
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilT384SCbJw

We also have a lot of scavenger hunts, marches, and crazy-themed bike rides, so I often get to see people running around having fun dressed in strange outfits.  I like them all.

For reference, here was my thread on it from a few years ago: 
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/diner-en-blanc/

I like the videos and admit I have watched a few of them. I enjoy seeing what areas of their city people choose to highlight and the different types of entertainment each event has. I find it fun to see how international cities interpret the same event. 

lol- I also noticed I commented on your thread saying I loved Diner en Blanc :) I admit the first time I went it was as someone's guest and I didn't have to do much. This time I had my own invite and since it was the inaugural event in Indianapolis we were encouraged to make sure we were really following all the rules and everything. It was a lot more work, but I truly enjoyed it.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 06:14:44 AM by StarBright »

FireHiker

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Re: Shaming Myself - Diner en Blanc
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2018, 10:45:49 AM »
Actually, I stopped participating in road races for all of these reasons. It costs $40+ even for most small races geared towards locals. I decided it made a lot more financial sense and mostly scratched the same itch to either participate in a free running club or just run the equivalent distance on my own. This was after around five years of almost monthly race participation.

I had never run in an organized race or, well, run at ALL, until this year...it was my turning 40 midlife crisis I guess. I ran a 5k in March (with my little kids), a half marathon in June, and a trail 15k just last month. I am still very bemused to consider myself a "runner", but we're doing a 5k next week on Thanksgiving and another half marathon in December. Starting next year we'll probably only do 1 or 2 longer races a year and no more than two 5k races with kids. I, too, was horrified at the amount of single use waste at the two road races I've done this year. I ran the half marathon with my own hydration in a small hydration pack, so I didn't need to use single use cups, but the waste really bothered me, especially how everyone just threw their cups on the ground even though there were tons of trash cans right along the route. You wouldn't even have to slow down to throw them out. I found with the trail race that it was entirely different. There is a HUGE emphasis in the trail running community on leaving no trace, and I saw that it was largely true even at the aid stations. My goal is to transition more to trail races as opposed to road races. I prefer the community overall and I like the fact that the races are managed in a more environmentally conscious way.

From a cost perspective, I think the races are worth it to ME, because if I am signed up for a race I will be consistent with my training. I wouldn't do a 5k every month like my best friend (who couldn't really afford it) did a couple years ago, but a half marathon or longer twice a year should be enough to keep me on track. I enjoy doing the 5k distance with my kids though. They are 6 and 8 and I think it's good to have an active family activity like that all together. The one on Thanksgiving benefits an ALS charity and I know two friends who have lost a parent each to ALS, so I'm happy for my money to go there.

And to get back on track...I had never even heard of Diner en Blanc, and then I saw this post AND my neighbor went to one within a week of each other. SO, thank you StarBright, for educating me on it so I could say "oh, I've heard of those" instead of "what the heck is that anyway"? This is a neighbor with whom I've very friendly but who makes very different financial decisions than we do, so I'm not the slightest bit surprised that she would go to one of these. I'm sure she didn't do it in a frugal fashion either.