Visitors to the Third Street Promenade relax on the world's longest red sofa on Monday. BoConcept and HurryDate teamed up to offer up to 150 singles a chance to meet up on the 213-foot red leather sofa, then enjoy a afterparty at the Downtown ice skating rink. (photo by Brandon Wise)

THIRD STREET PROMENADE — Over 100 hopeful singles gathered on the world’s largest red couch to participate in an unusual Valentine’s Day activity on Third Street Promenade Monday — speed dating.

The evening will go down as the longest speed dating event in the world, said Curtis Micklish spokesperson for BoConcept, the company that loaned the couch for use.

“There is no other record, so we’re making history here in Southern California,” Micklish said.

At 6 p.m., daters sat down on the 213-foot red leather couch and got through 10 to 15 three-minute dates with prospective partners.

After an hour and a half of elevator-style interviews, participants then walked to Arizona Avenue at Fifth Street for dinner, drinks and a bit of skating at the ICE at Santa Monica.

Singer and songwriter Mark Russell also performed for the crowd as speed daters finished the conversations that began on the very large couch.

Cupid may have had a hand in putting the event together, said Debbie Lee, marketing director for the Bayside District Corporation.

“We were strategizing a Valentine’s Day event, and at the same time, BoConcept was looking to do a promotion with their 213-foot sofa,” Lee said. “It was a perfect match.”

The Bayside District Corporation, a private-public management company that promotes the promenade and surrounding streets, worked with BoConcept and the HurryDate speed dating website to put the event together.

Each ticket cost $35 in advance, which paid HurryDate’s registration costs.

The star of the show was in 35 to 40 pieces in one of the international company’s east coast warehouses when BoConcept decided to put its vibrant color to use, Micklish said.

A previous promotion — that of the world’s largest sofa — had fallen through.

During the course of research, the company discovered that there was, in fact, a larger couch in existence.

“It was the world’s largest sofa,” Micklish said. “Now it’s the world’s largest red sofa.”

Undeterred, the 2.17 ton couch was split into dozens of segments and trucked across the United States for its appearance on the promenade.

“We’re super excited about it,” Micklish said. “It’s a fun event for Valentine’s Day, and a way to get singles involved.”

Passerbys took notice of the promenade’s new upholstery, and reactions before the event were largely positive.

“It’s a great social experiment,” said Mauricio Monnaco, 27, of Palos Verdes. “We use our phones all the time, and we don’t have that personal, face-to-face interactions.”

Some just hoped this wouldn’t be their first and last date with the couch.

“It’s cool. I thought it was a lot better than benches,” said Ashley Sarafian, 27, of the Inland Empire.


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