by Carla Ruschival

The 48th annual convention of the American Council of the Blind is on the launch pad and the countdown has begun. We're preparing a fantastic week of programs, exhibits, tours, and fun in Orlando, Fla. Plan now to bring the entire family to the beautiful Rosen Centre Hotel July 3-11 for an ACB experience you won't soon forget.

Orbit Orlando with an incredible array of tours and events. Blast off with a day-long tour to the Kennedy Space Center on Friday, July 3. Step back in time at the Holy Land Experience, a theme park and interactive Biblical museum that brings the sights and sounds of the Bible to life in a unique way. Visit a citrus grower to find some of Florida's best fruit and candies, and tour the largest library of braille books in the world in Daytona.

But wait! There's more! Skim over the water in an airboat powered by an airplane propeller. Spend an afternoon at Gatorland, a 110-acre park and nature conservatory with lots of alligators and crocs, a swamp walk and greeting marsh, and plenty of educational programs. Tour a Harley-Davidson factory, spend a day at NASCAR's Daytona International Speedway, and wind up your fabulous week at a dinner theater.

The serious side of the 2009 ACB convention is packed with outstanding workshops, seminars, exhibits, and programs. Below are just a few highlights already on the schedule; the pre-registration packet (coming to you around May 20) and the acbconvention e-mail list (subscribe by sending a blank message to [email protected]) will include many more events.

* Special workshops on rehabilitation, transportation, and employment and careers;

* Seminars, training and users' groups on a variety of adaptive technology;

* Special informational sessions for human service professionals, blind vendors and small-business owners, teachers, attorneys, and artists and musicians;

* Discussions and programs for parents, students, guide dog users, braille readers, people with low vision or who have both a hearing and visual impairment; and

* Programs, workshops and events for diabetics, Lions, women, international and multicultural attendees, sports fanatics, and lesbians and gays. Exhibits, Advertising and Sponsorships

The ACB convention gives you a great chance to let people from all over the country and around the world know about your company's products and services. Let us help you customize a package that fits your budget and reaches your audience. You might select advertising in the official convention program, placing information or promotional items in our registration bags, targeting specific groups with convention newspaper ads, meeting your audience face to face in the exhibit hall, or sponsoring a convention service or event.

Early-bird exhibit discounts close on May 15. Convention sponsorships and advertising must also be received by that date in order to appear in the official convention program.

For more information on exhibits, advertising and sponsorship opportunities, visit our web site at, or contact Michael Smitherman (exhibits) at (601) 968-4164, or Margarine Beaman (advertising and sponsorships) at (512) 921-1625.


Join the countdown to the 2009 ACB convention by making your hotel reservations now. Room rates are $83 single/double, plus tax; add $10 per night for each additional person in the room. Call the Rosen Centre Hotel directly at (407) 996-9840 for reservations.

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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