Wear white, eat potato salad and celebrate First Night Tacoma

By Ron Swarner on August 23, 2013

Don't panic. You still have 10 days to run through all your white clothing. Labor Day is Monday, Sept. 2., the day people idle on highways, hungover as hell in the name of summer's end and universal workers' rights. Labor Day also comes with a set rule: you cannot wear white after midnight. That's right, it becomes socially unacceptable to wear the most basic color mankind has in his California Closet. No more white 253 tees, white Fruit of the Looms, white pants, white handkerchiefs and absolutely no white hats, chef hats excluded, of course.

The rule isn't completely ludicrous. White is the color of summer. The color best reflects heat from the sun. (I know, white screams winter - just ask the Winter Warlock. Stay with me on the very long introduction.) White was also the color of the One Percent in the late 1800s, the Gilded Age. The hoity-toity wore white in front of the soiled workforce, waiving to the workers as they left for summer vacation. Today, the color makes for Top 10 headlines along the checkout stands.

Now the reason for this not-so-clever-introduction: First Night Tacoma says screw the whole Labor Day white wardrobe rule. It's hosting a pop-up picnic Thursday, Sept. 26, at Wright Park, asking diners to wear as much white as possible.

The picnic, title Le Diner en Blanc, grabs inspiration from the Parisians, which began in Paris in 1988, when a man named Francois Pasquier arranged to picnic with family and friends in a public park. To easily find one another in the crowd, all participants wore white, and a chic phenomenon was born. Pasquier's picnic has since become an international phenomenon, and, in September, Tacoma.

First Night Tacoma hosts the picnic to share its New Year's Eve plans, as well as raise funds for the downtown Tacoma Dec. 31 celebration. Organizers will provide tables, linens and performance snippets of scheduled First Night acts, including L. Lisa Lawrence fire dancing, Adam Martin with his Luminares and Benjamin Doerr and Lydia Ramsey of St. Paul de Vence.

You need to bring picnic goodies, a white tablecloth and yourself - dress head to toe in white. Oh, and $10 as it's a fundraiser. Visit firstnighttacoma.org to purchase tickets online, or donate by texting #FN253.

LE DINER EN BLANC, 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, W.W. Seymour Conservatory grounds at Wright Park, 316 S. g St., Tacoma, $10, firstnighttacoma.org.