The Braille Monitor                                                                                January/February 2002

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The 2002 National Convention in the Making

by Cathy Jackson

From the Editor: Cathy Jackson is President of the National Federation of the Blind of Kentucky. She and the affiliate are busy getting ready for the 2002 convention. This is what she says:

Please consider this your personal invitation to Louisville, Kentucky, to attend the annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind. The Board of Directors and members of the Kentucky affiliate have been working hard to make your stay in Louisville a memorable one. A great many of you will remember the 1985 convention. Well, hold on to your hat, because this convention will be every bit as exciting and then some. Committee chairmen have been appointed, and they have taken up their tasks of gathering door prizes, planning tours, arranging social activities, and soliciting help to staff the information tables--all for your convenience and pleasure. We pride ourselves on good old Southern hospitality.

Louisville sits on the banks of the beautiful Ohio River. The metropolitan area is comprised of Jefferson, Oldham, and Bullitt Counties in Kentucky and Clark, Floyd, Harrison, and Scott Counties in southern Indiana, making a total population of approximately one million. You can readily see that we are large enough to promote big-city events, while keeping the charm and sophistication of a Southern town.


You already know that Louisville is the home of Churchill Downs, the American Printing House for the Blind, and the Louisville Slugger bat. But did you know we are also the home of the patented Derby Pie, Rolled Oyster, Cheeseburger, Modjeska Candy (a caramel-covered marshmallow), and the first ragtime hit written by Ben Hainey, "You've Been a Good Old Wagon, but You Done Broke Down." We can also boast that our Seelbach Hotel on Fourth Avenue was the model for the famed Mulebach Hotel in The Great Gatsby.

When you think of Louisville, Kentucky, probably one of the first things that pop into your mind is the Kentucky Derby, "the greatest two minutes in sports." Kentucky is known for its fast women and pretty horses, or is that fast horses and pretty women? You can spend an exciting day at Churchill Downs in the grandstands admiring the horses or visiting the Derby Museum, where you can learn about the history and beauty of the track and the racing industry.

For those of you who want a more relaxing, peaceful time, the oldest Mississippi-style sternwheeler, the Belle of Louisville, is docked proudly at the fourth street wharf, just a short walk from the Galt House. A cruise on the Ohio River on a hot, lazy summer's day might be just the ticket for a perfect family outing.

The city planners have done an excellent job creating our new waterfront park. Take a blanket and enjoy a picnic on the great lawn. The Playscape children's play area will occupy even the most rambunctious youngster for hours.

Louisville provides something for sports enthusiasts as well. Slugger Field, home of the Riverbats, the Triple-A Farm Team for the Cincinnati Reds, is also within walking distance of the hotel. Come alive with the roar of the crowd and the smell of hot dogs in this beautiful baseball park. Before the game parents and kids might want to take a tour through the Slugger Bat Factory and Museum. Just outside the entrance stands the world's largest baseball bat. It is 120 feet tall and weighs 68,000 pounds. Once inside you will see the world's largest baseball and glove sculpture made from 450 million-year-old Kentucky limestone and weighing seventeen tons.

If the theater is more to your liking, the Kentucky Center for the Arts offers top-notch Broadway performances. It too is just a short walk from the Galt House or the Hyatt Hotel. Or visit the Louisville Palace, a simply wonderful venue for live entertainment. Even though the convention is being held in Louisville, Kentucky, we can't overlook the fun going on across the bridge in southern Indiana. Derby Dinner Playhouse offers some of the best live performances I have ever seen. After eating a scrumptious dinner, you can settle back, relax, and be totally absorbed in a theatrical production.

Three blocks west of the Galt House is the Louisville Science Center, one of our crowning attractions. Curious minds can lose themselves in hands-on displays and the attraction, The World within Us. Also housed at the Science Center is the IMAX Theater.

The Louisville Galleria is three blocks south of the Galt House and a mere hop, step, and jump from the Hyatt. Once inside you will find nationally known stores for your shopping pleasure. After lugging around those heavy shopping bags, you might want to grab a sandwich or a meal at the third-floor food court. A variety of appetizing foods can be ordered from McDonald's to Chinese. For the serious shopper Green Tree Mall in Jeffersonville, Indiana, is quite accessible from downtown Louisville.

There are several restaurants in the downtown area near both hotels. One of my favorites is the Old Spaghetti Factory. I love the atmosphere of this historic building, which once housed a department store, almost as much as I do the food and the prices. It is open for lunch and dinner and is a very popular place for families. The kiddos can order from the children's menu while Mom and Dad choose a glass of wine. Kunz's is a well-established German restaurant strategically located between the Galt and Hyatt. It is a little more up-scale, but well worth the money. Again I have to mention what is available in southern Indiana. Buck Heads Bar and Grill and KingFish Restaurant will appeal to the most discriminating palate.

When you are ready to kick up your heels, look no further than O'Malley's. Five nightclubs under one roof offer a variety of music from one end of the spectrum to the other. Country, disco, karaoke, hip-hop, and top-forty techno-house music just about cover it all. If you lean toward the wild side of life, you may want to live dangerously and visit all five in one evening.

I don't want to leave you with the impression that this is all there is to do in Louisville. I have just touched on some of the most popular attractions which offer a variety of entertainment and are within walking distance of the hotels or no more than a short cab ride away. There isn't enough space in this issue to list everything. But have no fear; our tour committee has much more to offer. These arrangements will be forthcoming in a later issue with all the details you will need to make reservations.

No matter how you say it--Louisville, Looahvul, or Looeyville--plan to make this your home for the week of July 3 through 9, 2002. Y'all come.

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