Convention Bits and Pieces

by Janet Dickelman

Plans for the 54th annual American Council of the Blind conference and convention are under way! Convention dates are July 3-11, 2015. The convention committee and the ACB board descended on Dallas the weekend of Oct. 18th. We met up with the Dallas host committee for dinner, a meet and greet, and visits to many tour venues. The host committee is enthusiastic, hard-working and very excited about the upcoming American Council of the Blind conference and convention.
Margarine Beaman made her list for the hotel of any accessibility needs and Sally Benjamin began rounding up volunteers. Michael Fulghum has a great start on tours, which I hope to highlight in next month’s article.  It was a very successful and fun-filled weekend!
It isn’t too early to begin making plans for Dallas. Our first tour will be on Friday, July 3rd. Additional tours will be scheduled all day on Saturday and Sunday, afternoons Monday through Thursday, and our final tours Saturday, July 11th. On Saturday, July 4th, tech sessions and some committees will begin programming.  Many affiliates will hold their board meetings, and the evening will culminate with the Welcome to Dallas Party, which the host committee says will be the biggest and brightest ever!
Sunday is the beginning of many affiliate sessions as well as our evening opening general session. General sessions will run Monday through Thursday mornings and all day on Friday. Affiliates and committees will hold numerous activities in the afternoon and evenings. The Friends-in-Art Showcase will be Tuesday evening, and don’t forget the walk Sunday morning and the auction on Wednesday evening. We are working on an amazing banquet speaker for Friday evening’s banquet.
The home of the convention is the Sheraton Dallas. The hotel has 3 towers; we will be in the central and north towers. The lobby area is quite large but can be easily traveled by following a series of carpeted and tiled areas leading to restaurants, business link, gift shop and other amenities.
When heading to the front desk, there are 3 shallow steps to be aware of. The steps are not along the main corridor and you won’t need to be concerned with them unless you are visiting the front desk. Meeting rooms are on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors, and can be reached from all sleeping towers. There are several elevator bays going to various floors in each sleeping tower. This will make elevator travel to your room much faster. All elevator bays will have signs in braille and large print for easy identification. The sleeping room towers are set up in squares with elevators in the center of the square. That means no dead-end halls; if you start out in the wrong direction, you can continue around the square to locate your room.

Food in Dallas

Convention attendees will have four restaurant choices at the hotel.
Peet’s Coffee: open daily, 6 a.m.-4 p.m.
Serving pastries, yogurts, cereals, sandwiches and other grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items
Draft Media Sports Lounge: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. for food service: lunch, appetizers and dinner
The Kitchen Table Restaurant (TKT): open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving comfort food in a casual setting. 
The Sheraton’s room service hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Everyone who visited the Sheraton found the service excellent and the staff extremely friendly, helpful and eager for our convention.
Of great interest to attendees will be the food court at the Plaza of the Americas, which is connected to the Sheraton by a second-floor skyway. As of this writing there are approximately 20 venues, some with familiar names such as Taco Bell, KFC Express, Blimpie’s and McDonalds. There are restaurants featuring pizza, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Philly cheesesteaks, and much, much more. Many of the food court options serve breakfast, and all are very reasonably priced.
Still looking for more restaurants? Within a 5-block radius of the hotel there are numerous dining options in all price ranges! No one will go hungry in Dallas!

Hotel Details

Room rates at the Sheraton Dallas are $89 (single, double, triple or quad) plus applicable state and local taxes (currently 13%) and tourism district fees (2%). For reservations by telephone, call 1-888-627-8191 and mention that you are attending the ACB convention in order to obtain our room rate. To make reservations online, visit and follow the 2015 convention link.

Convention Contacts

Stay in touch by joining the ACB convention e-mail list. Send a blank e-mail to
2015 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740
2015 advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625,
For any other convention-related questions, contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059 or via e-mail,