By Garrison Murphy
When was the last time you wore white cocktail attire to dance and dine in a public park? If it’s been a while (or never) you’ll have your chance later this month at Noche En Blanco, an annual charity gala in Margaret T. Hance Park.
The Margaret T. Hance Conservancy will host the third annual Noche en Blanco on Oct. 27 from 5 to 10 p.m. and will likely sell out all 1,000 tickets.
The multicultural unity dinner will benefit the future of Hance Park and guests are encouraged to dress in all-white, creative cocktail attire.
Throughout the night there will be a variety of multicultural entertainment acts that will be announced closer to the event date. The finale will be a performance by a Brazilian Carnival music group.
“There are certainly no other galas that happen in the central city that celebrate our parks. This is the one and we are very excited about it,” says Dorina Bustamante, the co-chair of Noche en Blanco and member of the Hance Park Conservancy Board of Directors. “It’s a really special place; it’s a really special park.”
Guests can bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks or can pre-order a gourmet picnic from the event organizers. Bustamante says the only requirement for attire is that it is white or cream. The white symbolizes unity.
“Some people wear cocktail dresses, some people wear suits, some people wear gowns, some people get funky — it’s really up to you,” she says.
She also said unlike other galas, the event theme and attire promote a sense of unity. “We wanted to choose an event theme that would be very welcoming to everyone because parks are public spaces and open to all walks of life and all ages,” she says. “(At) most galas, you are isolated to your own table of eight or 10 and it is hard to interact with other guests, and this is an event where it is highly encouraged to interact with other guests.”
The event was originally inspired by Le Dîner en Blanc, a community picnic originating in Paris more than 30 years ago. The guests at Le Dîner en Blanc also dress in all white.
People from all over the Phoenix area are encouraged to attend. Bustamante expects a diverse demographic of attendees. “We have a major influx of more people working and living downtown. Whatever walk of life you are, you are welcome,” she says. “Think about who enjoys public spaces: everyone. So it’s really to attract everyone and it’s an extremely diverse group of guests.”
All of the proceeds will benefit the Hance Park Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to the future of Hance Park. The group is working toward fulfilling the Hance Park Master Plan, which was adopted by the City of Phoenix in 2014.
The Master Plan hopes to transform Hance Park into a community hub for Phoenix much like Central Park is to New York City. The plan requires an estimated $100 million and calls for a total revamping of the park.
Changes include dividing the park into three major zones called the Valley, the Canyon and the Plateau. Each zone will serve a different purpose. For more information visit http://hanceparkconservancy.org/our-vision.
Ticket prices range between $15 and $200 and are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/noche-en-blanco-2018-tickets-47488396071
Hance Park is located at 67 W. Culver St. in Phoenix. For more events around town, visit our events page.