It is time to begin planning for the 2009 convention of the National Federation of the Blind taking place at the Detroit Marriott, Renaissance Center. It has been many years since we made a significant change in our schedule, but we are doing so this year. Please pay close attention to the dates and schedule so that you are not taken by surprise.
Once again our hotel rates are the envy of all. For the 2009 convention they are singles and doubles, $62; for triples, $66, and for quads, $68. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 15 percent. No charge will be made for children under eighteen in the room with parents as long as no extra bed is requested. Please note that the hotel is a no-smoking facility.
For 2009 convention room reservations you should write directly to the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, 100 Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan 48243, or call (313) 568-8000. The hotel will want a deposit of $60 or a credit card number. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately, just as would be the case with a $60 check. If a reservation is cancelled before June 1, 2009, $30 of the $60 deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.
Guest-room amenities include cable television, coffee pot, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, and high-speed Internet access—this last for a fee. Wireless access is available in the lobby.
The Marriott Renaissance Center has several restaurants: Forty-Two Degrees North (open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), Starbucks, Musashi by BarOne (open for lunch), and Volt (open for lunch and dinner). In addition Coach Insignia is an elegant restaurant at the top of the tower, and on the Promenade level guests will find a food court. The hotel also has a fitness center and day spa.
The 2009 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will be a truly exciting and memorable event, with an unparalleled program and rededication to the goals and work of our movement. Make plans now to be a part of it. The schedule this year is a full day shorter than we are accustomed to. Preconvention seminars for parents of blind children and other groups and set-up of the exhibit hall will take place on Friday, July 3, and adjournment will be Wednesday, July 8, following the banquet. Convention registration and registration packet pick-up for those who registered online will begin on Saturday, July 4, and both Saturday and Sunday will be filled with meetings of divisions and committees, including the Sunday morning annual meeting, open to all, of the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind.
Immediately following the Motor City March for Independence—the Walk for Opportunity, the general convention sessions will begin on Monday, July 6, and continue through the banquet on Wednesday, July 8. Note that Tuesday, July 7, will include both morning and afternoon convention sessions. Thursday, July 9 will be available for tours for those who enjoy getting to know something about our convention city. To assure yourself a room in the headquarters hotel at convention rates, you must make reservations early. The hotel will be ready to take your call or deal with your written request by January 1.
Remember that as usual we need door prizes from state affiliates, local chapters, and individuals. Once again prizes should be small in size but large in value. Cash, of course, is always appropriate and welcome. As a general rule we ask that prizes of all kinds have a value of at least $25 and not include alcohol. Drawings will occur steadily throughout the convention sessions, and you can anticipate a grand prize of truly impressive proportions to be drawn at the banquet. You may bring door prizes with you or send them ahead of time (identifying the item and donor and listing the value in print and Braille) to Mary Wurtzel, 1212 N. Foster Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48912, (517) 485-0326.
The best collection of exhibits featuring new technology; meetings of our special interest groups, committees, and divisions; memorable tours arranged by the Michigan affiliate; the most stimulating and provocative program items of any meeting of the blind in the world; the chance to renew friendships in our Federation family; and the unparalleled opportunity to be where the real action is and where decisions are being made--all of these mean you will not want to miss being a part of the 2009 national convention. We'll see you in Detroit in 2009.