Dressed in white and packing their own supper, thousands of people gathered at the Olympic Park Thursday evening for a romantic picnic with strangers.

Many revelers have waited all year -- or longer -- to have their invitation confirmed for the annual Diner en Blanc.

Those who attended say they enjoy the atmosphere and the air of mystery of learning their dining location only after they step on a bus.

"The not knowing where we're going and knowing it's going to be a party atmosphere and good food and good wine," said Anna Sicurella.

This is the fifth time the Diner en Blanc has taken place in Montreal. Originally conceived of in Paris 25 years ago, when Francois Pasquier wanted his guests to wear white to a picnic so they could easily find each other, the event has now spread to 40 cities around the globe.

Pasquier's son Aymeric launched the series in Montreal in 2009.

"We didn't know if it could work in North America because the mentality, the rules and the regulations are different, but Montreal is the real proof," said Pasquier.

The event has grown considerable. In previous years guests have filled Victoria Square, an area at the old port, and last year took over the promenades surrounding Place des Arts. Each year the number of guests has grown, from a comparatively paltry 2,000 in 2010 to more than 5,000 this week.

With more than 5,000 people already waiting to attend the elegant picnic next year, organizers say people will likely have to wait: they have no plans to expand their logistical efforts to let more people attend in the future.