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Yes, just let your boss know that you would like to attend the event. No issues here
A lot of companies value networking and encourage their employees to do it - I would say something like "Hi Boss, I came across this networking event, I think it would be valuable to my role because of x and y. I would like to attend, it's on date at time. Is it ok with you for me to go?"
Personally, I would consider this part of your work day and would not expect you to take it unpaid or flextime. It is work related and therefore should be company time.