by Carla Ruschival

From the starting gate to the far turn, you've been part of the ACB 2008 Convention Stakes. Now we're heading for home, and we hope you will be in the winner's circle as ACB celebrates its 47th annual national convention at the Galt House in Louisville, Ky., from July 4 to 12.

Over 300 programs, workshops, tours and other events will pack convention week. Check out a quiet car, discuss transportation and rehabilitation and legislative issues, and see all the latest high- and low-tech gadgets. Learn about distance education, how to find a job or work from home, and the latest news for diabetics. Have fun playing Braille Bunco, trying out new activities in the Recreation Zone, or make your debut as a stand-up comic at the students' Comedy Night. Hear former Miss Kentucky Monica Hardin share her incredible story at the Sunday evening general session, and meet Hall of Fame and Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Pat Day at the Sports Fanatics' Luncheon. Hang out with friends at the new third-floor lounge area, and gather round the grand piano any time for a sing-along.

The Kentucky Derby is always the first Saturday in May. Most locals don't go to the track that day; we have Derby parties instead. You'll miss the Derby, but you won't miss the party. You can bet you'll have a great time at the Welcome to Kentucky Party, crammed with music, games, prizes and fun; you might even win a Derby hat!

The ACB banquet will be really special. Choose from Southern fried chicken or Kentucky sugar-cured ham or a delicious vegetarian meal. Then take a walk through time as Dr. Tuck Tinsley III shares the APH story, from its humble beginnings in a basement room in the days before braille to its worldwide prominence in the education of the blind and visually impaired of today.

Get out and about with an ACB tour. From the beautiful music and outdoor drama of the Stephen Foster Story to the underground wonders of Mammoth Cave, from Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace to Maker's Mark Distillery, from the Thomas Edison House to the Muhammad Ali Museum, you'll explore the rich heritage of Kentucky. Visit the recording booths and plant where talking books and braille come to be, or explore the history of the blind in the APH museum. Choose tours to candy factories, a hand-blown glass factory, or the fabulous Frazier Arms Museum with its many touchable artifacts and audible demonstrations.

Just for Kids

Bring the entire family to convention. There's a week of fun for the kids.

The Youth Activity Center, for kids 6 to 17, will spend a day at Holiday World, a theme park at Santa Claus, Ind. They will take a special tour of APH, check out how pizza and candy are made, have fun at the Science Center and the glass factory, and much more. There will be swimming and games and crafts, and of course special YAC T-shirts for everyone. Light breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided.

But wait! Little kids want to have fun, too. The new ACB Kidz Club is for children 3 to 5. Available in the mornings during general session, your little ACB-er can enjoy music, stories, toys and fun while you attend meetings. Kidz Club kids MUST be potty-trained.

Help us plan for your child and ask questions about convention activities suitable for children by contacting Patti Cox, YAC Coordinator, at (502) 897-3864.

Reduced Prices

Thanks to the generosity of our many convention sponsors, the pre-registration and registration fees have been rolled back to $20 and $30, respectively, for 2008. The ACB banquet ticket will be $29 on pre-registration, down from a high of $38 in 2006. Many other tickets are also less expensive this year. Finally, you will discover that restaurant meal costs are generally lower in Louisville than in many cities.

Convention Registration

Pre-registration forms will be mailed on or around May 15, and on-line pre-registration will open at the same time. Pre-registration will remain open until June 25.

Special Needs

A $20 deposit will once again be required if you wish to borrow an assistive listening device (ALD) for the week. Make the deposit on the pre-registration form; pick up the ALD at the registration desk. Receive your refund when you return the ALD to registration as you leave the convention. The ALD will come with a fresh battery; you are responsible for supplying additional batteries during the week.

If you use a wheelchair, scooter, etc. and you plan to take tours, you MUST notify us of your need for a lift-equipped bus when you pre-register. Remember that tour volunteers cannot act as personal assistants on tours. If you need a personal guide or assistant, please arrange to take the tour with a friend who is willing to give you his or her undivided attention.

If you need to request an interpreter, please do so NO LATER THAN June 20. Tell us the type of interpreter you need and the session(s) or event(s) you wish to attend. Be sure to include details on how we can contact you for more information.

Whether you need an interpreter, a lift-equipped bus, or other reasonable accommodation, it is absolutely imperative that we know of your needs by June 20. We will make every effort to fill requests received by that date. Request reasonable accommodations on the pre-registration form, or contact Darrell Buford, local host committee chair, at (502) 899-2344; e- mail [email protected].

The American Council of the Blind is not required under the ADA to provide personal care assistants or round-the-clock services of any kind. ACB, hotel staff and volunteers cannot administer medications or provide transportation.


Taxi fare from the airport to the Galt House is a flat rate of $18. The bus station is about 8 blocks from the hotel, and the fare is approximately $8.

Several trolleys and buses stop within walking distance of the hotel. Current adult fixed-route fare is $1.25, or 60 cents for the elderly, disabled, and children 6 and up with proper ID. Kids under 6 ride free. Trolley fare is 50 cents.

Paratransit (TARC-3) fare is $2.50. The service is door-to-door, and rides can be reserved one to seven days in advance. If you wish to use TARC-3 services while you are in Louisville, please fax documentation of your eligibility for paratransit services by June 1 to Steve Tharpe at (502) 213-3243.

For more information about public transportation in Louisville, call the 24-hour TARC information line at (502) 585-1234.

Exhibits, Advertising And Sponsorships

Attendance at the 2008 ACB convention will be one of the largest in ACB history, possibly surpassing that of Las Vegas in 2005. This is a great chance to let people from all over the country and around the world know about your company's products and services.

Early-bird exhibit discounts close on June 1. Convention sponsorships and advertising must also be received by that date in order to appear in the official convention program.

For more information on exhibit, advertising and sponsorship opportunities, visit our web site at, or contact Michael Smitherman (exhibits) at (601) 968-4164, or Brenda Dillon (advertising and sponsorships) at (615) 874-1223.

Hotel Reservations

If you are holding a hotel reservation that you no longer need, please cancel it right away. This is extremely important, as it allows others to reserve that room and prevents ACB from over-committing our room blocks. Your cooperation in this matter in a timely manner is appreciated.

To make a reservation at the Galt House, call (502) 589-5200. Choose a standard room in the Rivue (West) tower for $85/night, or spend convention week in style in a newly renovated executive suite (fridge included) for $105/night. Rates are single/double, and do not include tax; add $10 per night for each additional person in the room.

Keep up with Convention

Keep up with all the latest convention announcements. Join the acbconvention e-mail list by sending a blank message to [email protected].

Listen to ACB Radio for more convention information. Sound Prints (Wednesday and Thursday) and Marlaina (Sunday and Monday) are two good resources for convention information. Both shows begin at 9 p.m. Eastern and repeat every odd hour through 7 p.m. Eastern the next day.

For convention questions or special concerns, contact Carla Ruschival, ACB convention committee chair, at (502) 897-1472 or by e-mail at [email protected]; or call the ACB national office at 1-800-424-8666.

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