Dinner at the White-Meyer House was but one of the 32 held around the city this year as part of the 53rd annual Meridian Ball, with all guests later convening at the Meridian House for dessert, drinks, and dancing.
After taking a brief hiatus last year due to the pandemic, the Meridian Ball returned more popular than ever on Friday night raising over $1.54 million for the Meridian International Center.
Now in its 53rd year, the venerable gathering remains one of the city’s most sought after tickets for the fall social season. It owes its popularity in part to its unique format, which consists of dozens of intimate Embassy dinners hosted by various Ambassadors around Washington followed by a lively late night reception on the grounds of the historic Meridian House proper.
Through changes in presidential administrations, societal upheaval, and times of national and global crisis, the Meridian Ball has persisted as one of the few events where government officials, diplomats, philanthropists, and business leaders across parties, borders, and backgrounds can set aside differences and come together for an evening of co-mingling and conversation. There are no VIP areas, no speeches, and no awards. It’s a unique format designed to facilitate discourse between Washington society and the diplomatic community and, dare we say it, allow people to have some actual fun!
While the blueprint for the ball might not have changed, what did change this year were the precautions put in place to keep guests and staff safe. Everyone in attendance, including vendors, were required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and also had to provide proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the event. Additionally, most of the after dinner reception was held outside and even the dance floor tent was open-air this year.
From the $25,000 raised in 1969 to this weekend’s record haul of more than $1,540,000, all funds raised go toward strengthening the nonprofit’s goal of increasing “engagement between the United States and the world by developing and connecting global leaders through culture and collaboration.” Simply stated, sometimes a little (silent) disco goes a long way!