Le Dîner en Blanc Premieres in Wilmington!
The Port city of Wilmington is set to host its first Le Dîner en Blanc event. The city joins the list of more than 30 US cities hosting the event. Known for its attractive year-round climate, Wilmington is the ideal holiday destination for people from nearby towns. In the middle of summer and by the water, no doubt that Le Dîner en Blanc will take place in the best conditions.
The organizing team composed of Michael Flagg, Sherell Flagg, Shanika Perry and Joe Williams has been working hard to offer a first Dîner en Blanc that match their ambitions. A few days before the event, we asked them a few questions about their vision for Le Dîner en Blanc, their organization and their feelings.
How did you come to organize Le Dîner en Blanc? Where did you hear about the event? Have you ever attended Le Dîner en Blanc in another city?
We’ve seen Diner en Blanc take place in Philadelphia on the news the last couple of years, but what piqued our interest was when some of our guests started coming into the salon and spa raving about their Diner en Blanc experiences. We started to research the event only to find out that it was even grander than explained. One of the questions stood out as we read the international webpage was, “Is it possible to organize this event in my city?” I looked at the question at least 10 times before I clicked for the answer. “Can we do this? Do we have the time? Is Delaware too small?” These were the questions that bounced around in my head for a couple of days. After watching almost every Diner en Blanc official video and looking through hundreds of pictures and Facebook posts, I asked myself, “Why not us?” Wilmington so needs an event like this and we were going to be the couple to initiate the process. Before we started, a picture of a Diner en Blanc table setting with the words, “Le Diner en Blanc – Wilmington 2018” was placed on the Vision Board in my office and still stands until this day, as it reminds me to ask, believe and then receive. We drafted an initial letter to express our interest in bringing Le Dîner en Blanc to the city of Wilmington and the rest was history. Le Dîner en Blanc - Wilmington will be on August 17, 2018.
Describe your relationship to your city. How long have you lived there, and what is it about your city that makes hosting Le Dîner en Blanc such a good fit?
Michael Flagg: I grew up in Wilmington, a little house on Eastlawn Ave. I’ve seen drugs and violence rip at the fabric of parts of this community, and I’ve seen the market crash devastate and stall the city’s infrastructure. Through it all Wilmington has a special resiliency about it. It always had a glimmer of hope of becoming that bustling city that we could be proud of. Not Philadelphia, not Baltimore or D.C. but Wilmington. Today Wilmington is starting to emerge as that city, crime is down, new restaurants and hotels are filing into the city. The Riverfront has emerged as a staple in the community and professional sports teams have come to make Wilmington their home. We thought that Le Diner en Blanc Wilmington, an event with the foundation of breaking bread with family and friends, would thrive in this city.
How did your team of hosts come together? How has your collaboration progressed so far?
Although we are responsible for organizing and executing many events in and throughput our community, my wife and I wouldn’t call ourselves event planners. My wife Sherell is actually a designer with a unique attention to details and I’m more of a builder/ creator of the team. Together we focus on designing an atmosphere with the concept of creating an enlightening experience for each individual guest.
When looking for hosts to complete the team we choose Joe Williams, who had attended Le Diner en Blanc several times and also been involved with planning some big events in the area. We also choose Shanika Perry, a faith-based leader in the city of Wilmington who has ties and connections to important influencers in the city.
What do you think will be the greatest challenge as you move forward with your event? Or, what has the greatest challenge been so far?
The biggest challenge for us has been securing sponsors and the event insurance. The sponsors we approached had already reached their quotas for the year or were not familiar with the brand, so they were reluctant to support the first year. We are confident that through this experience we have gained the knowledge needed to secure more sponsors for the next years to come of Le Dîner en Blanc - Wilmington. The insurance was challenging due to the various stipulations the venue required for the acquisition of the event insurance, which has since been rectified as well. One thing for sure, every single challenge rather big or small has helped us become stronger and more knowledgeable for future approach.
We wish the city of Wilmington a happy first Dîner en Blanc, that the magic of the event shines in the city on August 17!
For the complete information on the event, visit wilmington.dinerenblanc.com or
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