"It really exploded, and it made me think: Wow, Orange County is certainly a fantastic place, not only to do this event, but clearly it's needed. And the Orange County people just love to network," Linden said. "People take business very seriously in Orange County."
Linden has held similar events in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for years, and this year will extend his reach into the Inland Empire, but he said the Costa Mesa event is "by far the most successful to date."
The event is not only geared toward local businesses, but toward the county's chambers of commerce.
"It's also a great way for chambers of commerce … to be able to talk to fellow businesses in the community and talk about the chamber of commerce," said Stephanie Cole, Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce's membership services director. "It's a great way to get information about the chamber out there, it's beneficial for us."
About 30 chambers from around the county will be represented to let businesses know the advantages of being involved in chambers and the differences between each city's business organization.
"We like to say a phrase: If you've seen one chamber, you've seen one chamber — we're all different in different ways," Cole said. "We offer different things to different people, and when you put us all together in a room, you get a better idea of that and a better view of what chambers are and what they have to offer."
Wigmore Insurance Agency of Costa Mesa will be represented tonight to not only let local business leaders know about their business, but also for a bit of fun. It's the first year the company has participated in the mixer, but Wigmore officials have attended similar mixers as a member of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce.
"It's also important for us that we're known and involved in the larger business community, but the final reason is we basically want to have fun," Wigmore spokesman Mike McGlinn said. "These events are fun. We go there, and we'll have a putting return, and people can come up and try to sink putts and win prizes."
As the host chamber, Brennan said, it's a great way for Costa Mesa to market itself to merchants from other areas.
"It's nice to bring these people into the city and have them exposed to the facilities and what they might not otherwise get to see."
Exhibitor space is sold out, but the event is open to the "business public."
IF YOU GOOrange County's Largest Mixer
WHERE: Orange County Fair and Exposition Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa
WHEN: 5 to 9 p.m. today
INFO: (949) 222-6600 or www.largestmixer.com