Diner en Blanc Haiti: more than a social gathering, a whole experience to boost Cap-Haitian Tourism
In its 5th edition, Diner En Blanc Haiti was held in Cap-Haitien for the first time. The northern city is one of Haiti’s most famous tourism destinations. Usually, DEB Haiti takes place in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital. But the switch was made, and this international event has been taken in a new direction. From a social gathering perspective, moving the event to Cap-Haitian was a tour de force that turned this social reunion into a new kind of experience. An experience one must attend to believe. This year, along with the expected dinner, the team planned a four-day weekend of festivities. All with the intention of highlighting some of the most touristic attractions in Cap-Haitian.
The first edition of Diner En Blanc Cap-Haitien launched with a cocktail presentation at one of the most beautiful, chic and elegant venues; a must not miss when visiting, The place is Cap Deli, a restaurant with excellent cuisine and modern architectural design. It is a delight for both the eyes and mouth.
Arriving at Cap Deli, we felt the spirit of what was to come. The restaurant is located near the historic Le Boulevard de Cap-Haitien. The hosts and hostesses dressed dapperly in white with gorgeous accessories and hair ornaments. Fabienne Alphonse-Reid, an organizer of DEB Haiti, welcomed us all and invited the attendees to mingle. As the night went by, we talked, and after a few drinks, the guests departed in little groups. The place gradually emptied until we heard the waves of the ocean coming from right outside of the restaurant.
The next day, some people went sightseeing, traveling to Milot to see the most recognizable historical monument located in Cap-Haitien, Citadelle La Ferriere. The fortress sits above the Sans-Souci Palace, which another site to visit when in the city.
In the evening, we witnessed a fabulous fashion event called “Runway Haiti” with five Haitian designers from various backgrounds and horizons. Zacometi, from Paris, presented a collection for men with a new twist to the stylish ways of dressing by incorporating some urban touches, while Miko Guillaume showed us how it’s done by doing the same but with his touch and originality. Guillaume’s menswear looks were polished but more modern than usual. Besides these looks, he is also known for his resort works presented in more than half of his collection pieces for women, and he didn’t disappoint as usual. Craft and impeccable finish were au rendez vous! Jeffary, JD Collection and Azor Collection (swimwear) were there as well and did a terrific job.
And then came Saturday, the big day for the plat de resistance. At 4 p.m., attendees arrived at the various meeting points. It was the beginning of a flock of fashion gowns, stylish suits and not so impressive outfits. The dress code is supposed to be “white,” but some people showed up in shades of cream, beige and nuances that were not so white. After everyone arrived, we boarded various buses and headed to the secret location where the dinner took place. Everybody was excited about the unknown meeting point. Guests made speculations and when the secret was finally revealed, some were disappointed, but they would not be for long.
The secret location was right under our noses, located in the middle of Cap-Haitien at La Place D’Armes. This destination is situated in front of The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption also called Cap-Haïtien Cathedral, it is a historical structure that is more than a worship center. Built in 1670 back when Haiti was a French colony, and in that same spot where the liberation of the slaves was proclaimed on August 29, 1793. Today it is where hundreds of Haitians dressed in their whitest attires and partied like there was no tomorrow to send out a memo to the international crowd that our country is more than ready for visitors. In prelude to the 350th birthday of Cap-Haitien next year, this event was right on time to make sure tourists from around the world plan to see for themselves the wonders of the Northside of Haiti.
Fashion was omnipresent at the dinner: beautiful hats for the ladies, pearls and red-carpet-ready dresses, and white suits with fedoras for the gentlemen. Most of them were a sight to see while dining to the sound of live music by Anie Alerte. Jessie Woo, Haitian comedian, and international starlet was the focal point of the night, looking amazing in her white bridal inspired gown. She performed her new song and also took some shots for the music video. Champagne and Rosé flowed, and at the end of the night, everybody rushed on the dancefloor to sweat it out, partying like Haitians.
A little getaway to white shores of Labadie is where the whole Diner En Blanc Haiti weekend event activities ended. Lost in the middle of the Caribbean Sea in a boat party with music by the DJ Manito Nation, enjoying seafood, beers, breathtaking ocean views and great company, we want to remind the world that Haiti remains La Perle des Antilles and that Cap Haitian is without the shadow of a doubt, one of its greatest and most precious treasures.
Stanley Pierre Etienne for Polo Lifestyles