by Suzanne Waters
From the Editor: Sue Waters is a leader of the Pennsylvania affiliate and a knowledgeable resident of Philadelphia. Over the next few months she will be providing information about next summer's convention city and giving us hints about what to do in such free time as we can find during the 2001 convention of the National Federation of the Blind, July 1 through 7. This is what she says:
The audience waits in a hushed fever of anticipation. Your family and friends are in the front row, cheering you on. This is your dream come true--that final, million-dollar question. Regis takes a deep breath as the dramatic drum roll sounds. "And for one million dollars: what major gathering will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 1 through July 7, 2001? Is it A. The Third Continental Congress; B. Cheese Steak Lovers Anonymous; C. The Soft Pretzel Bakers Association; or D. the Convention of the National Federation of the Blind?"
As the grin spreads across your face and visions of vacations and diamonds dance in your head, you speak the words that will change your life forever. "Regis, it's D. the Convention of the National Federation of the Blind. Final answer." The crowd goes wild; cameras snap and flash. You are the nation's newest millionaire!
Okay, so maybe you didn't win a large cash prize. Maybe you weren't even on the TV show. But one thing is definitely true: you are still a big winner, because you are a Federationist and you will be attending the 2001 convention in Philadelphia. Thirty-seven years have passed since Philadelphia last hosted our National Convention, and it's high time we in Philadelphia show you all that we haven't just been sitting on our historical laurels. The city which was the cradle of the American Revolution and the home of Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin, and so many other distinguished Americans has experienced a renaissance. The new millennium mixes tastefully with the old in many fascinating ways. Over the next few Monitor issues we'll give you a small taste of the countless attractions that promise to make Philadelphia the site of the greatest Convention of the National Federation of the Blind ever to be held.
Let's start with a few facts about the Keystone State, and the city that will be your host in 2001. The state motto of Pennsylvania is one that any Federationist would be happy to espouse: virtue, liberty, and independence. Pennsylvania is the second state, preceded only by Delaware in adopting the newly-written Constitution. It is roughly rectangular in shape, extending approximately 170 miles from north to south and 308 miles from east to west. Its typography is varied, including mountains, valleys, and rivers. Forests cover about fifty-six percent of Pennsylvania's total land area.
Of its many cities, Philadelphia is the largest and is, in fact, the fifth biggest city in the U.S. Pittsburgh, our second largest city, was the home of KDKA, licensed in 1920, the first commercial radio broadcasting station in the world.
Pennsylvania is the home of 277 institutions of higher learning and a multitude of historical sites that will keep even the most avid student enraptured. Whether you like rediscovering America's past at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, or Independence Hall; enjoying the wonders of nature in the beautiful Pocono Mountains; or hearing world-class orchestral music, Pennsylvania will not disappoint.
Come spend Independence Week, 2001, in the city where it all started. Experience America's rich past at Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin Court, Carpenter's Hall, and many more. And be a part of Philadelphia's glorious present and future as you sample our numerous entertainment, shopping, and restaurant options. The Pennsylvania affiliate is preparing a week of warm hospitality and a few surprises that will have you clamoring to return to the City of Brotherly Love very soon. And don't miss the next issue of the Braille Monitor, in which Chapter Two of the Philadelphia Story will answer the following questions: what famous author resided in Philadelphia from 1843 to 1844? What sculptor's works are showcased in Philadelphia in the largest exposition outside Paris? And, last but not least, what's the next best thing to holding Regis's check for a million in your hands?
Make those hotel reservations today. For the 2001 convention room rates are singles, $55, and doubles, twins, triples, and quads, $65. In addition there will be a tax, which at present is 14 percent but no charge for children eleven and under in the room with parents as long as no extra bed is requested.
For 2001 convention room reservations you should write directly to the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, or call (215) 625-2900. Marriott has a national toll-free number, which you may use to make your room reservations. This number is (800) 228-9290. The hotel will want a deposit of $60 or a credit card number. If a credit card is used, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $60 check. If a reservation is cancelled prior to May 29, 2001, $30 of the $60 deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made. See you in Philadelphia.
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