ABOVE PHOTO: Guests setting up on Boathouse Row. (Photo: Georgi Anastasov Photography)
More than 6,000 guests descended upon Le Dîner en Blanc – Philadelphia at the iconic Boathouse Row August 23 . This was the eighth edition in the City of Brotherly Love and the largest Dîner en Blanc gathering in the country this year.
Guests had the opportunity to explore one of the city’s most iconic landmarks while mingling among fellow Philadelphians dining.
The unique landscape of Boathouse Row on the East Bank of the Schuylkill River in Fairmount Park is known not only throughout all of Philadelphia, but nationwide and globally.
Home to 12 rowing clubs from which four of the city’s universities also compete, Boathouse Row is maintained by the individual clubs who together are members of the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia.
“We’re so excited to welcome the thousands of Diner En Blanc members and their guests to Boathouse Row,” Paul Horvat, who currently leads the Schuylkill Navy as commodore, said. “We hope that many might be inspired during the night to return to check out rowing themselves or help us spread the word throughout the city of the great opportunities that exist for our city’s youth, students, adaptive athletes, and citizens of every age.”
The Schuylkill Navy’s newest member — Philadelphia City Rowing (PCR) — serves as the team for the Philadelphia School District and rows from the most downriver location. Free to every student in the city’s public and charter schools, PCR’s year-long programs — like the many “Learn to Row” programs offered for both adults and youth by various clubs — provide an avenue to get on the water and in a boat even for those who might not be from a collegiate rowing program.
“As rowers, one thing we understand intuitively is the idea that what you can accomplish together is far greater than that which you can do alone or even as individual parts,” Bonnie Mueller, who serves as vice commodore, added. “So, Diner En Blanc makes sense to us. Just as we feel daily on the river, there’s something magical and truly special about coming together as a “crew.” Together, especially when everyone blends in unison and becomes a seamless “one,” the experience is transformational.”
“The number eight plays a significant role in competitive rowing,” Le Dîner en Blanc – Philadelphia co-host Natanya DiBona said. “The “rowing eight” is the largest of the boats and takes eight rowers, working in unison, to succeed.So, it was fitting to pick Boathouse Row for our eighth location, particularly because the event relies on the hard work of everyone — planning team members, volunteers and all 6,000 participants — to make Diner en Blanc Philadelphia a success.”
Attendees dined, danced, and delighted in this year’s variety of entertainment. There was a group of roaming performers to start the night — Originaire, Melissa Dunphy, Etta’s Baby Boy, Project Philly and Justin The Magician — followed by the Dewdrop Society Band, DJ Mar, Great on Skates, DJ Sean Smoove,The Event Poet, Rev. Michael Alan Portraits, Dandy Wellington & Gin Minsky and event favorite, Mad Beatz. Artists Dora Cuenca, Weston Welch and Andy Greenleere painted oars in the space which were auctioned after the event to benefit Broad Street Ministry. This is the second year Le Diner en Blanc Philadelphia is auctioning work to support BSM.
The “Most Elegant Table” judges included Jeff Guarcaino, president of Visit Philly, Alicia Vitarelli, 6abc news personality and Christina Henck, owner of Henck Designs.
The “Most Elegant Women” judges were Syrmarie Villalobos, Telemundo62 Primera Edición anchor, Mary Dougherty, owner Nicole Miller Philadelphia, and influencer Davida Janae of Vida Fashionista.
The “Most Elegant Men” judges were Miguel Martinez-Valle, NBC10 and Telemundo 62 news personality, Mike and Alex, Philadelphia lifestyle bloggers and Sabir Peele, stylist and founder of Men’s Style Pro.
Le Dîner en Blanc – Philadelphia gratefully acknowledges Chateau Ste Michelle and Sofitel as official national partners of the 2019 US series of Le Dîner en Blanc.