Everyone at a networking event is doing the same thing that you are: looking for people who can help him or her. The people who can actually help you will be mobbed, likely to be unhappy about having to be there, and anxious to get home.
Instead, use your elevator pitch at Starbucks, neighborhood cookouts and sporting events. I know people whose careers started in each of these destinations. You probably do, too. Ask other people for their stories - you might be surprised and inspired. You'll be much more likely to be surprised and inspired that at, say, a networking event.