Ce Soir Noir: Vancouver’s free black-clad clapback picnic returns for fifth year

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There’s that one night a year when Vancouverites don all white and troop out en masse for a pricey group picnic and an evening of photo-ops, and then there’s Ce Soir Noir.

The self-proclaimed “barely-organized” free family-friendly community picnic returns for its fifth year, asking locals to don all black and enjoy a simple al fresco meal in the park.

Launched in 2014 by Vancouverites and visual artists Graeme Berglund and George Vergette, Ce Soir Noir touts a basic concept: “wear all black clothing, bring food and drinks, a blanket to sit on and some friends. Enjoy music, good conversation, maybe meet a few new people and revel in the peaceful resplendence of East Vancouver.”

The event takes place, not by coincidence, at the same time as Diner en Blanc. This year that’s Thursday August 8, from 6 to 11 p.m.

Ce Soir Noir was born as a “tongue in cheek response” to the popular ticketed Diner en Blanc, and was only thought of as a one-off. That first year, over 1,500 people showed up, so the tradition has continued.

“As artists, we are interested in the cultural community of Vancouver,” says Berglund. “This is an easy way to contribute to allied accessibility, in a city renowned for its high cost of living, where even entertainment can be cost-prohibitive. For five years, it has been free to the public.”

Additionally, there is a charitable component to this clapback event, which furthers its community sensibilities: Organizers have once again partnered with Backpack Buddies this year to bring in non-perishable food and money donations for children of the DTES.

So gear up in all-black, grab some picnic eats and a blanket and head to Creekside Park. Keep your dogs at home, and remember there are no open flames permitted. “And if it rains, it is most definitely canceled,” add organizers.

Ce Soir Noir

When: Thursday, August 8 from 6-11 p.m.
Where: Creekside Park – 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver
Cost: FREE

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Lindsay is the Managing Editor of Vancouver Is Awesome, and the co-host and co-producer of the Vancouver Is Awesome Podcast. A fifth generation Vancouverite and life-long foodie, Lindsay also serves as a judge for the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Previously the Food Editor of Daily Hive, Senior Editor of Vancity Buzz, and Editor-in-Chief of LAist.com, in her past life in L.A. she earned an MA in English, attended culinary school, and was an English professor. Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancouverisawesome.com // Twitter/Instagram: @squashblossom