One night each year, a pop-up dinner happens like no other, where 2,200 people gather in all white to eat together in Tucson. It's called Noche En Blanco and I was fortunate enough to be invited. As I turned the corner onto Sixth Avenue in downtown, my jaw dropped as I first whited the sea of white as at 5:30pm sharp, it was already packed.
But unlike many other events, for this one, you have to bring more than your own food: tables, chairs, plates, forks, and knives are your table's collective responsibility, as well as trash removal!
Some comment that it feels like a wedding but there are actually no set scheduled happenings except the occassional impromptu cheer or when en masse everyone waved their white cloth napkins around.
There is something incredibly special about eating home-cooked food with thousands of people, family style. As I walked around, I basked in the love and positive energy exuding from each table, as people took a break from their daily lives to commune with known or new neighbors.
As I watched the flaming paper lanterns set sail into the sky overhead, I quietly thanked my lucky stars to be part of such a special night.
The tradition of Noche En Blanco has it's roots in Paris, I am told, but has spread to cities around the world. The location isn't announced until the day of and unlike many other events here where people are 'fashionable late', this one was standing room only even before the official start. But what was official about it anyway, since the only activity was to eat and enjoy people's company.
I very much look forward to next year's Noche En Blanco as a centerpiece of my calendar in Tucson!
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