by John Berggren
We are now in the season for office parties, Christmas shopping, and holiday cheer. While dreams of sugar plums may be dancing in your head, however, it’s not too early to begin thinking about the warmer weather and the summer months. While July may seem on the distant horizon, it’s time to plan for one of our most exciting events of the year. I’m talking, of course, about our 2019 National Convention. For the first time in our history, the largest annual gathering of the organized blind will be in Las Vegas, Nevada.
We are excited to be hosting our convention at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119). As is the case every year, we have once again arranged for exceptional room rates. Unlike in years past, the same enviable rate of $99 per night applies to singles and doubles as well as triples and quads. Hotel and sales taxes are 13.38 percent and 8.25 percent, respectively. The resort fee (normally $37 a night) will be waived for NFB convention attendees. However, fees for internet access, local and toll-free calls, and fitness center access may apply.
To make reservations for the 2019 convention, you can call the hotel at 877-632-7800 after January 1. The hotel will take a deposit of the first night’s room rate for each room and will require a credit card or a personal check. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately. If a reservation is cancelled before Friday, June 1, 2019, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.
Situated at the beginning of the world-famous Las Vegas strip, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is a short trip from Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. The hotel has more than two dozen restaurants for guests to enjoy. Among its features is an aquatic playground called Mandalay Bay Beach which has real sand, a wave pool, and a lazy river. The hotel is also home to an aquarium with more than 2,000 animals including sharks, green sea turtles, and a Komodo dragon. Plus, it offers top-notch entertainment including Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil.
The 2019 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. Preconvention seminars for parents of blind children and other groups and set-up of the exhibit hall will take place on Sunday, July 7, and adjournment will be Friday, July 12, following the banquet. Convention registration and registration packet pick-up will begin on Monday, July 8, and both Monday and Tuesday will be filled with meetings of divisions and committees, including the Tuesday morning’s annual meeting, open to all, of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind. General convention sessions will begin on Wednesday, July 10, and continue through the banquet on Friday, July 12.
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 to Terri Rupp, 10587 Santerno Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89141.
The best collection of exhibits featuring new technology; meetings of our special interest groups, committees, and divisions; 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 2019 National Convention. To assure yourself a room in the headquarters hotel at convention rates, make your reservations early. We plan to see you in Las Vegas in July.