Thousands feast at Diner en Blanc at Navy Yard

NAVY YARD (WPVI) -- The fourth annual Diner en Blanc may have been damp, but the Navy Yard rivaled Paris, France, where the event originated nearly 30 years ago.

"It's a very special place in history; we really wanted to show it off from a historical perspective and also what's happening now, with the great development here," cohost Natanya Dibona said.

Wearing ponchos and holding umbrellas, preferably in white or clear, 4,500 people dined in the rainfall.

"Look at all these people, there are thousands of people, so it really hasn't bothered us, we're just glad to be here," Danika Hernandez Stubbs of West Mt. Airy said.

The hot ticket had plenty on the waiting list.

Everyone must wear white and come prepared.

"We have our chairs and our table and our white linens and dishes," Connie Regan of Wilmington said.

Yes, with everything from place settings, food, and, of course, wine.

The ambiance and secret location had a group of young ladies hooked, traveling to several cities for the elegant experience.

"I think it's a little bit of the anticipation, guessing where it might be," Mary Downes of New York City said.

"Our goal is to make it to the mothership, to Paris," Quinetta Roberson of Center City said with a laugh.

But organizers say Philly's party is c'est la vie.

"I think being a great city is what makes it so special. People say you'll run out of spots and we really have a long lists of spots in Philadelphia," Dibona said.

It took months to plan and the location remained a secret the entire time.

Organizers had to coordinate with the city and SEPTA.

Paris, Montreal and Washington, DC have the event as well.

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