Who'd think a furniture store would be a fun place to hang out?
Turns out it's a great place to hang, at least for an evening. Lots of space to spread out, toss a bunch of vendors, a diverse collection of decor to keep the guests amused (and in shock about prices), and obviously, to help everyone show off.
They did a pretty decent job running the event, handling check-ins and donations. They even kept tables bused reasonably well, which is a major challenge in a place like a furniture store (and a major failing in a lot of events). A pair of photo booths helped, and the DJ, while largely ignored, did a pretty good job for ambiance in one quarter of the venue.
Food was the harder part. Dessert first-- Rita's did a simple table, while Sprinkles had an ambitious spread. Almost worked, but the ice cream was disappointingly melty even though we got to it fairly early. Kay n Dave's did a very decent ceviche and an aqua fresca, the cinnamon chips were delicious, the rest was forgettable. I forget who did margaritas, but those were pretty good-- and much more consistent than the gin and tonics that Bombay Sapphire was pimping.
Fresh Brothers and New School of Cooking both got mobbed quickly, not nearly enough food to go around... of the vendors, really, only Kay n Dave's and the drink places seemed to have remotely enough to go around, and none of the food was really all that remarkable. Solid, yes, but not terribly remarkable.
The size of the venue made socializing optional if you chose, and it was pretty free-form, which definitely has pluses and minuses.