I look forward to this every year. Yes, it has its critics but the sheer size of the event guarantees some pleasant surprises. It's become a tradition for a friend and myself, we wouldn't miss it.
I get a real kick out of the European vendors who sit scowling at their tables, with all their packaged products unopened and unavailable for sampling. Their companies must spend thousands (tens of thousands?) of $$ to exhibit. Do the bosses know that their representatives sit drinking coffee, chatting with the other vendors and completely ignoring the attendees? Walk thru the France and Italy sections and you'll see what I mean.
Or the fenced-off German section where it takes an act of God to get a cup of beer? I try to chat up the bartender across the fence and succeed less than 50% of the time. But the game is part of the fun.
One of the best features a few years ago was the wine/spirits sampling area in the basement. I think that lasted only one year.
It's also fun trying to figure out all the strange-looking items from Asia and the Middle East.
Olives, cheese, meat (D'Artagnan!), beer, wine, fruit sodas, hot sauce, salmon, ginger in every imaginable form, Jamaican coffee, Spanish pickled peppers and garlic, ham (ham and more ham), chocolate, etc., etc., It takes a truly jaded soul not to have a fun time at this event.
So anyone else going?