In an uncharacteristically wild evening that culminated in a party filled with hookah smoke, an exotic fruit bar, and a pulsing, packed Moroccan-inspired dance tent, the 47th annual Meridian Ball on Friday night proved to be one of the liveliest of Washington’s social season.

With the goal of promoting global leadership across the public and private sectors, this classic Washington party with a nonpartisan feel found a Goldilocks-sweet spot with a choose-your-own-adventure format that allowed guests to relax if they wanted and or have plenty of wild company on the dance floor if they didn’t. The addition of a DJ’ed tent attracted a lively young crowd without alienating traditional guests, making for a multi-generational event that felt like a buzzy pop-up club.

Two dozen embassies hosted chic pre-ball dinners, allowing long-established guests a tasteful onset to the evening. Later they converged at the Meridian International Center to join a few hundred post-dinner revelers for dessert, drinks, and dancing into the wee hours. Despite the lack of politicians due to the congressional recess, or perhaps because of it, the party took a wilder turn than most as diplomats and business tycoons mixed, drank, and danced into the wee hours of Saturday morning.

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