At a lot of conferences, a business pays the attendee's conference fee, travel and hotel expense. At RWA, the writers pay their own costs. That's how much they want to be there.
Attendees take the workshops seriously. After all, income depends on improving job performance. Plus there's a certain amount of pride involved. You want to write a story people enjoy.
RWA is a serious conference, with infectious enthusiasm and lots of books. Books. The other chocolate. If they haven't done a study on how reading a good book changes serotonin levels in the brain, then perhaps they should.
And at the end of one conference event, my party favor was a pair of red socks. Bright red socks. I put them on before I left the party. They matched perfectly with my silvery shirt, black pants and black shoes. Red socks. I prefer them over glass slippers. Much more practical.