I had the good fortune to be able to attend the Chicago Codeapalooza this last Saturday. It was an all-around success - about 30 speakers spread across five comprehensive tracks, hundreds of developers, vendor booths, good community interaction, and more. I'm proud that Paylocity could be a sponsor. And the event was free.
I've always thought that the big thing about user groups aren't necessarily the tracks (which were good), but meeting other developers in the community. The talent level is always humbling. Several companies were actively recruiting - much better to meet a recruiter in person at a professional event than as one of a thousand random resumes online.
Our demanding field requires continual education, and free, local, interactive events like this are one of the best ways to break the ice, followed up with your own personal study.