Thousands in attendance for Diner en Blanc Philadelphia

The top secret dinner was held at Rittenhouse Square Park this year.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Diner en Blanc Philadelphia returned Thursday with its annual tradition of secrecy and elegance amid the city's new mask mandate.

The special event was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

The top secret dinner was held at Rittenhouse Square Park this year.

"Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass 'chic picnic' in a public space," the event's website says.

Guests started arriving around 6:45 p.m. for the fashionable dinner and entertainment.

"I'm so tired of being in the house, I'm over it," said Marnishia Garner of West Oak Lane.

This is the 9th edition of Diner En Blanc. Many said they liked this year's location.

"We found out when we walked up here, and we saw the beautiful trees and we were like, 'We made it,'" said David Gendelman of Conshohocken.

The pop-up location of Rittenhouse Square was chosen so people could space out as needed.

"With all the COVID, the variant, and the new restrictions in the city, we wanted to create that space so we can have a good time, but also keeping ourselves safe," said Michael Ingram of Horsham.

On Thursday, the city of Philadelphia announced a mask mandate for large outdoor events due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Masks are required in all outdoor, unseated gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

RELATED: Philadelphia's new mask mandate now in effect

Diner en Blanc required guests to wear face masks while not seated at their assigned tables.

"It's function over aesthetic. We're going to maximize the space that we have," said Kayli Moran, the co-host of Diner En Blanc Philadelphia.

While some brought takeout, others opted for French cuisine in keeping with the theme.

"We got a baguette and butter, and macaroons for dessert," said Laura Kavanaugh of Fairmount.

While there was a slight breeze in the air, many had to create their own bringing fans with them.

"It's extremely hot," said Royce Burrell of Edgemoor, Delaware.

RELATED: Headed to Made In America? You'll need more than a mask

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