Trending: Taste-testing the Cosmic Crisp, Washington state’s star-studded ‘apple of the future’

Thanks to all of you who came out last night for the first-ever GeekWire Gala. We had a great time toasting our GeekWire Newsmakers of 2011, and celebrating the “Geeks Who Give Back,” the people featured in the 2012 GeekWire Calendar that was our gift to all of the attendees.

Newsmakers Scott MacFarlane of Avalara, Ben and Emily Huh of Cheezburger, Mike McSherry of Swype, Darrell Cavens of Zulily, Jason Kapalka and John Vechey of PopCap and T.A. McCann of Gist/RIM. (Click for larger image).

In the accompanying pictures, you’ll also see a new GeekWire tradition that we started at the event — special soccer scarves that we presented to the newsmakers and calendar honorees, as mementos of the occasion.

Beyond those special recognitions, our goal was to provide a place for the technology community connect as the year draws to a close. So it was great to see more than 500 of you there, including executives and employees from many of the region’s top startups and larger companies such Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, RealNetworks  and many more.

Based some of the conversations we saw, some of the news we’ll be covering in 2012 on GeekWire will no doubt trace its roots to last night.

Best-dressed winners Rebekah Bastian and Brady Forrest.

A big congrats to Rebekah Bastian of Zillow and Brady Forrest of O’Reilly Media, the winners of our best-dressed contest, as determined by our esteemed panel.

In support of Toys for Tots, we collected a huge haul for Jenni Hogan’s mobile tweetup, with a major contribution from the team at Double Down Interactive, who brought in a huge haul of toys.

Our partners at put together the video above from the event, asking a great question to many of the people in the crowd: Who helped you the most this year? A big thanks to Mark Briggs, Evonne Benedict and the team at KING5 for their work on the piece.

A crowd of more than 500 people joined us for the first-ever GeekWire Gala at Seattle's Union Station last night.

Check out this news piece on the Rick Larsen staffer tweeting controversy, reported by KING5’s Owen Lai from the GeekWire event, with comments from the UW’s Kathy Gill.

Photographer Annie Laurie Malarkey took a bunch of great pictures from the night, in the gallery below. Also see a gallery of fun pictures from the Red Box Pictures photobooth, posted earlier.

In addition, we’ve posted all the pictures to our Facebook page, where you can tag yourself and share the photos with your friends.

Thanks to event sponsors ZillowBingFilterKing5FacebookthePlatformStartup Weekend and Heinz Marketing for helping to make this special evening possible.

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