Here's something fun - a First Pages Event in Hyde Park in March. I know it's hyper-local, but they have these sorts of events all over. I always keep an eye out for events that meet certain criteria. For example, I like events that have:
1. a small crowd. It is next to impossible to stand out in a room full of hopeful writers trying to meet agents and editors that everyone there wants to meet, too. In some cases, I've found large conferences downright depressing. This event, on the other hand, is open only to the first 50 writers who sign up.
2. some guarantee of personal attention. As I mentioned, no one pays attention to an unknown in a crowd of hundreds of clones. But some events do guarantee you'll get some personalized feedback on your work. This event, for example, offers each writer an anonymous critique of the first page of their work.
3. a limited time frame. Personally, I'm not big on overnight trips that require tacking on the stress of a lengthy trip not to mention the cost of a hotel and several meals out. If you look around, you can find events that are somewhat close-by or even online.
4. a low price tag. I realize it's important to invest in one's career. But spending thousands of dollars (literally) to attend huge events just doesn't strike me as a particularly wise investment. There are loads of ways to spend money trying to "make it" as a writer. My advice and mantra: Spend as little as possible while earning money as a writer instead.
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!