Now that’s the way to start a holiday weekend.

Thursday night’s Social Media Day celebration at the Motor City Casino drew a huge crowd — more than 500 is my guess when I left between 8:30 and 9 — for a terrific time that did a fine job of combining business and pleasure.

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Attendees enjoyed a fun all-Detroit food spread — coney dogs, Little Caesar’s pizza, Better Made potato chips — a thumping, creative DJ, and presentations from sponsors Livio Radio (the Ferndale developers of foolproof Internet radios); the Bizdom U and Fathead business units of the Dan Gilbert business empire; HiredMyWay.com, a new recruiting Web site; and the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

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Mashable, a 6-year-old online news source, created the event last year to celebrate real-world connections among those who use social media in their work and social lives. But of course there was also free WiFi in the room, and attendees were encouraged to blog, post and tweet their comments, pictures and videos from the event.

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Organizers at Livio Radio said they distributed virtually all of 1,400 free tickets for the event. The formal event at the Sound Board theater at MotorCity lasted until 10 p.m., with an afterparty at its Amnesia nightclub scheduled to last until 2 a.m.