SCRANTON – Friday marks the return of a visually appealing event that's sure to leave attendees hungry for more.
The Dinner By Design event was first held in 2011 as a joint venture between the Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, and the Lackawanna Historical Society, with proceeds benefiting both organizations.
Michael Gilmartin, who co-chairs the event with Laurie Cadden once again, said patrons weren't sure what to expect from inaugural endeavor.
"It's a visual event. It's like going to an art exhibit or the flower show in Philadelphia. You're going to see design, and the design is in the creations of people who are making environments for dinner," Gilmartin explained.
"It involves eating in a visual sense, but there's no food."
A total of 15 interior designers, event planners, and other professionals will transform rooms of the Scranton Cultural Center to create unique dining experiences based on individual themes, colors, textures, and more.
Friday's preview party from 7 to 10 p.m. offers an open bar, hors douevres, and live music from the Jazz Assassins for $60. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and are valid on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. A combination ticket for the preview party and full weekend costs $70.
Tickets are exchanged for a guide book, featuring information about each vendor and the themes behind their respective rooms.
Displays will consume the center's four floors, including some areas that the public may not normally have access to. One room that's often unseen features a floor-to-ceiling stained glass window that will be the scene of a mock wedding and reception, according to Gilmartin.
While the rooms themselves undergo impressive transformations, Gilmartin said the small touches – splashes of color, unique lighting, and place settings – add further appeal to those attending.
"We knew it was going to be nice, but we were very taken with people's responses," he said.
Gilmartin said newcomers should "expect to be surprised and impressed" by the quality of the exhibits.
A vendor marketplace has greatly expanded to include 14 individuals and businesses offering breads, baked goods, candles, table d