For the seventh consecutive year, a pop-up dining experience called Chicago In White took over a secret location in the city, lighting up a beautiful July summer evening with food and festivities. Partygoers are urged to participate in an all-white theme – from wardrobes to place settings – lending an elegant, enchanting atmosphere to the evening.
A celebration of all things good about Chicago, the founding of the event has firm Junior League of Chicago (JLC) roots. Founders and current JLC Sustainers Jen Luby and Kelly McCoy Williams held the first event in 2011, inspired by Chicago’s “City Beautiful” movement and the desire to give back to their community.
This year, the event partnered with the South East Chicago Commission, a community-based non-profit focused on enhancing the quality of life in five neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago. A portion of the event’s proceeds will go towards the organization’s goal of making those communities better places to live, learn, work, and play.
The event was scheduled to take place on the green space of the very appropriate Midway Plaisance – birthplace of the “City Beautiful” movement. However, Mother Nature decided to RSVP as well – moving the party a few blocks from the original, waterlogged location. Despite the shift, diners descended right on time to mingle and set up.
While tables, chairs, and white tablecloths are provided, diners were asked to bring their own dinnerware, food, and drinks. From simple place settings to elaborate flower arrangements and fine china, everyone arrived prepared to eat and drink in style. Wardrobes featured whimsical boho dresses, elegantly feathered hats, and even a white suit or two.
For those not up to providing their own picnic, a VIP ticket treated diners to an all-inclusive experience, catered by Chicago-based chefs and served amongst tables beautifully styled by local vendors.
A traditional napkin twirl kicked off the meal, and a fairy-light strung dance floor and DJ booth beckoned diners to burn off their dessert as the sun went down. At the close of the evening, just as suddenly as the celebration began, guests packed up every trace of their meals, leaving this elegant tradition ready to reappear next year in a new part of the city.
For more information on Chicago in White and to keep a lookout for the 2018 event, visit www.chicagoinwhite.com.
By Allison Busch, 2017-18 Topics & Trends staff member