I've been to the first two CookieCons (before they had the pre-CookieCon classes), but not in the last two years or so. Overall, it's an amazing event and one I would highly recommend! Meeting fellow cookiers is great fun, the Sugar Show has been amazing, and there are useful tips to be gleaned almost everywhere - in the classes, from vendors, in the open decorating session, etc. That said, in the second year especially, I found the classes during the event to be geared more toward beginners, and, because they aren't hands-on, they are less interesting to me. From what I've seen of the pre-CookieCon class curricula, however, those classes seem more involved and like a terrific learning experience all around.