Get Ready for Fun in the Land of 10,000 Dreams!

by Janet Dickelman

Excitement is building for the 2016 conference and convention of the American Council of the Blind. Summer is a wonderful time to visit Minneapolis, the home of this year’s convention. The place to be is the Hyatt Regency, located in downtown Minneapolis. In this article you will find a listing of convention activities by day, a brief hotel description, information about ordering dog food, and shuttle and airport arrival information.
To save space, affiliates and committees will only be mentioned on their first scheduled day of programming. Most affiliates and committees will hold several days of programming. I apologize to any affiliate or committee whose information may not be included in this list: sessions are still in the planning stages for some affiliates and committees. All affiliate and committee information will be shown in the conference and convention program. 

Friday, July 1

ACB tours
Convention registration opens at 8 a.m. for pre-registration pick-up only. After 11 a.m., registration will open for those of you who have not yet registered. Note: registration will follow the same schedule on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, July 2

ACB pre-convention board meeting 
Leadership training
Exhibit hall open from 1 – 5 p.m.
ACB tours
Information access committee seminar
Tech user groups and product spotlights (tech sessions will continue through Wednesday)
Welcome to Minnesota Party
ACB Students welcome party
ACB Lions Milly’s Place Pin Swap


Sunday, July 3

ACB Brenda Dillon Memorial Walk 
Teachers’ breakfast and meeting
Programming for attorneys, blind vendors, information technology specialists, guide dog users, citizens with low vision and diabetics 
ACB board of publications meeting
Sports fanatics’ luncheon
Scholarship winners’ luncheon
Keys to the Convention seminar
Transportation and environmental access committee seminars
Exhibit hall open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
ACB tours
Mixers held by government employees (ACBGE), people with low vision (CCLVI), Friends-in-Art (FIA), and Blind LGBT Pride (BPI)
Kids’ Explorers Club (fun for kids ages 6 to 13, through Friday)
ACB opening keynote general session at 7 p.m.


Monday, July 4

General session, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Independent Visually Impaired Entrepreneurs (IVIE) breakfast and meeting
Exhibit hall open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Multicultural Affairs Committee lunch and program
Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss luncheon and program
Special meetings and activities for library users, women’s concerns, rehab task force, sight and sound impaired committee
ACB Recreation Zone (healthy and fun options also on Thursday)
ACB tours 
Monday evening’s activities include CCLVI game night, RSVA comic and karaoke, FIA prose and poetry reading. 


Tuesday, July 5

General session, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Special programming for braille users and supporters of braille
Exhibit hall open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
ACB tours
Evening activities include ACB Families Bingo and Friends-In-Art’s Showcase of the Performing Arts.


Wednesday, July 6

General session, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Exhibit hall open from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Legislative seminar
Health issues and advocacy task force programs
Mixers for AAVL and MCAC
ACB tours
ACB auction


Thursday, July 7

General session, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
ACB membership seminar and board of publications workshop
ACB Radio Amateurs meeting
Affiliate presidents’ meeting 
DKM First-Timers reception
ACB tours
ACB movie night


Friday, July 8

ACB all-day business session 
ACB banquet


Saturday, July 9

Final ACB tours


Hyatt Hotel Guide

The Hyatt has meeting space on five levels. The Hyatt restaurants, Prairie Kitchen and Market Deli, are located on the main floor. There are several short sets of shallow steps in the lobby area. These steps will be marked with contrast tape, but please be cautious when traversing the lobby. You can avoid the steps and use ramps if you prefer.
Main level meeting rooms: 
Nicollet Ballroom (general sessions)
Exhibit hall (exhibits)
Lakeshore Ballroom, sections A, B and C (registration and ACB Café)


Second floor meeting rooms:

Greenway Ballroom, sections A through J
Regency Room
Skyway Room, section A and B
St. Croix
North Star Ballroom


Fourth floor meeting rooms:

Great Lakes
Lake Minnetonka
Lake Calhoun
Lake Harriet
Executive Board Room
Lake Nokomis
Lake of the Isles
Cedar Lake


Fifth floor meeting rooms:

Lake Superior, sections A and B


Ordering Dog Food

Scoop Masters will be maintaining our dog relief areas at the Hyatt. Once again they will offer the opportunity to order dog food delivered to your hotel room. To order your dog’s food, visit Scoop Masters’ web site at, or call Tim at 1-800-787-7667. The deadline for ordering food is June 20th.


Flying to Minneapolis

Once again SuperShuttle is offering ACB a great convention rate from the airport. One way costs $16.50; round trip, $28.80 per person. To make reservations online, visit or call 1-800-258-3826. See below for information you will need to provide to SuperShuttle.
A taxi from the airport is approximately $40; if you use the premium same-day taxi service through paratransit, it will cost $25 each way. The shuttle will pick up convention arrivals right outside the baggage claim area. When taking a taxi, especially from the main terminal (Lindbergh), you must travel a distance to reach ground transportation. The shuttle is the easiest and least expensive way to travel to and from the airport.


Assistance at the Airport

We all know how hectic it can be at the airport. In Minneapolis there are two terminals, Lindbergh and Humphrey. To assist airline personnel and Margarine Beaman and her cadre of airport volunteers, please send Margarine an e-mail with “airline information” in the subject line at, or call her at (512) 921-1625. You will need to provide both SuperShuttle and Margarine the following information:
Your name
The name of the airline you will be arriving on
Your departure city
Arrival flight number
Arrival date and time
Departure airline
Departure date
Departure time
Cell phone number


Stay Connected

Once again this year, the convention announce list will be filled with information about the convention. I’ve already begun sending out messages pertaining to restaurants, hotel information and information regarding tours and activities. Subscribe to the list today by sending a blank e-mail to  If you’ve been on the list in the past, you need not subscribe again.
Don’t have e-mail? No problem! Convention updates will also be featured on ACB Radio and by telephone through Audio Now at (605) 475-8130.


Hotel Details

Room rates at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis are $89 single or double. There is an additional $10 per night charge per person for up to four people in a room. Applicable state and local taxes are currently 13.4%. For reservations by telephone, call Central Reservations at 1-888-421-1442, and be sure to mention you are attending the ACB convention in order to obtain our room rate. To make reservations online, visit and follow the 2016 convention link.


Convention Contacts

2016 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740,
2016 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,