You know that feeling you get when you hear an old song that takes you back to a special time in life? When you reminisce about where you used to be and how far you’ve come?

That’s how we felt last Thursday at the Earth House.

Verge at Earth House in January

Last year, our team hosted over a half dozen Verge startup events in the same top-floor auditorium at the Earth House in downtown Indianapolis. While last week’s event reminded me of those days, this event had its own flavor, pumped full of the energy of 2011 and the anticipation for what 2012 holds for our Midwest startup community:

Bi-polar Verge pitches launched the evening.

It was Brandon Corbin’s third time to pitch a startup in front of a Verge crowd, while it was Chuck East’s first exposure at a Verge event. Quick to dissolve any potential tension, our Verge organizers pulled the two presenters into the green room for a powwow before the stage lights went on:

The verbal run through seemed to have worked for them, because—other than going over the 5-minute pitch limit—the startup pitches were well-received by the audience, who hung on every entrepreneurial word. We’ll post these ViewYou and Quick Box Social pitches on the Verge blog during the first half of February. The passion from the founder pitches got everyone into right rhythm for what happened next.

Christopher Day kept it real during a revealing fireside chat.

Once the applause died down after the second pitch, the Verge visual team lit the flame on the You-Tube-powered video stream of our mass-projected cozy fire. Two stools and a couple mics gave us a comfortable environment for our most captivating fireside chat yet.

Christopher Day NavidarThese days, Christopher—or Toph (his preferred nickname)—helps companies and investors with strategic M&A advice as well as raising money for breakthrough growth. But Christopher Day hasn’t lost an ounce of the entrepreneurial zest that led him to start six businesses before he turned forty.

He picked out stories that went all the way back to his painting business, which was the first stair of his entrepreneurial ascent. I can’t wait to get our full conversation edited and posted here on the Startup News blog. His stories and insights fueled some very interesting conversations through the night.

We cranked up the dial on the conversation.

Technically the after party lasted nearly 24 hours.

DJ Liarmouth amplified the energy with his steady beat, but didn’t overpower any of the conversations. Thanks to the partners at DeveloperTown, we gave away a pair of tickets to zipline through downtown Indy’s Super Bowl Village. And more than one person won a bottle of our new uFlavor drink: Verge Soda. Here’s who gets one of the first six bottles off the line:Verge uFlavor

Are you one of these winners? Send an email to me (matt [at] vergeindy [dot] com) to coordinate delivery. If you didn’t win this time, keep an eye out for more opportunities to get your hands on some of our soda.

We had to kick out the last dozen people from the Earth House as we closed things down around 10:00 PM. But we kept the after party going with our first Verge Google+ hangout last Friday. I’m happy that more than half a dozen people hopped into the hangout because we got some really helpful ideas and we learned a little more about how Verge can help our family of startups.

We want to do something really crazy for our next Verge event. So, drop us your thoughts here in the comments or shoot them my way (I’ll be answering each and every one of them until midnight tonight). Now, if only I could find a good Pandora station…