Updated Schedule Available

The Schedule page is where to see what will be happening in Des Moines.  You can use the Schedule tab above to go there or follow this link.  The schedule now includes which room meetings will be in.  You can plan your route to attend all the great meetings!

Be sure to check that page occasionally for updated versions.  As you can see from the filename, the current version is from February 25, 2017.

Things to Know Before You Visit Des Moines

Simulated Iris Show

A Simulated Iris Show is scheduled on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. This is a hands-on training opportunity for Apprentice Judges to receive exhibition judges training. The following is what you need to do to participate:

  • Secure an approved AIS Judge for 2 hours to conduct your exhibition training. The judge cannot be a family member. The Convention Committee will not secure judges for the training. It is the responsibility of each apprentice judge to make arrangements with an accredited judge for training.
  • Bring with your AIS Judges Handbook
  • Bring your Evaluation Form and a self-addressed, stamped envelope addressed to your Regional Judges Training Chairperson to give to the judge training you. S/he will complete and mail to your Regional Judges Training Chairperson.

Parking at the Hotel

The Des Moines Downtown Marriot valet parking is $24 for over 8 hours and $12 for up to 8 hours, plus tax. There are several city ramps available downtown, including one just west of the Des Moines Marriott at 8th & Locust Streets. For more information about parking and a map of public parking garages around the city, visit: https://www.catchdesmoines.com/about/transportation/parking/

Internet Access

Wireless internet is free throughout the hotel, including public areas and guest rooms.

Accessibility & Guest Services

The Des Moines Downtown Marriott is a accessible facility to persons of all abilities, including 32-inch wide openings to guest rooms. Fitness center, meeting spaces, pool entrances, restaurants, main entrance and registration are all accessible. For more information about accessibility, please visit: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/dsmia-des-moines-marriott-downtown/#accessbility. For general guest and concierge services information, visit http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dsmia-des-moines-marriott-downtown/.

Restaurants, Pharmacies, Retail, etc.

A full list of the hundreds of restaurants throughout the Des Moines metro is located at: https://www.catchdesmoines.com/restaurants/.

Thursday Night Dining Options

The AIS Geek Dinner is a fond tradition, hosted this year in the Windows on 7th Dining Room in the first floor of the Des Moines Downtown Marriott. The proceeds from the Geek Dinner Auction supports the AIS Electronic Services Fund. Attendees can bid on iris introductions, gift certificates from commercial iris growers, and iris themed items. Reservations for the Geek Dinner are not included in the convention registration fees. Please contact Joanne Prass Jones (joanne@usjoneses.com) or see convention website for more information. Cost is $35.00.

Also available on Thursday night is a Dine-A-Round, a unique opportunity to experience some of Des Moines’ award-winning and innovative restaurants. The convention committee has arranged for group reservations for 25 people each at three downtown restaurants. The restaurant options feature a variety of menu choices. Attendees interested in participating in the Dine-A-Round may sign-up for reservation spots when they register at the hotel. Registration is first come, first serve and final commitments are required by Wednesday evening. Registrants are responsible for their individual tabs. The Dine-A-Round is a great way to meet new people, experience great local cuisine while someone else takes care of the reservation. More information on restaurants and menus is available on the convention website.

If you’d rather explore the dining scene on your own, a complete list of the hundreds of restaurants throughout the Des Moines metro is located at: https://www.catchdesmoines.com/restaurants/.

Things to Do in Des Moines

Des Moines is a vibrant, mid-sized Midwestern capital with amenities and attractions for all ages. It’s a particularly art-centric city, with numerous public art installations including the award-winning John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. It’s also a pedestrian friendly city with numerous biking and foot trails. For more information about top things to do in Des Moines during your visit, check out https://www.catchdesmoines.com/things-to-do/

Host Gardens – Iowa Arboretum

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The Iowa Arboretum is 415 acres of trails, prairie, woodlands, and, most importantly for the Convention, four separate gardens hosting over 400 guest bearded irises.  The Arboretum showcases hundreds of trees, shrubs, and flowering plants.  Of special iris interest is a collection of Siberian iris Morgan-Wood Medal winners (preceding link is to the Iris Encyclopedia Morgan-Wood Medal page with history and photos).  There are also both bearded and beardless irises in other plantings on the grounds.

 

Speakers: Chad Harris

We were pleased to learn that Chad Harris will be speaking at the Society for Japanese Iris Section Program.  His post on the World of Irises “Colors, Patterns of Japanese Iris” had this notice at the end:

A more detailed look to the different flower forms, colors, and blooming habits will be presented by Chad Harris at the Society for Japanese Iris Section Program in Des Moines, Iowa at the American Iris Society National Convention May 22-27, 2017 titled “Old There, New Here” a look at historic Japanese irises. For more information about the National, click here to go to the website.

You can see the current schedule to learn when this program will be.  Come and enjoy all the great talks!

2017 Silent Auction Request

One of the features of the AIS Conventions is the Silent Auction.  Nick Stewart and Debbie Strauss are already planning for this year’s event.  The Fall 2016 Irises Bulletin has their request for donations on page 16.  You can see the request silent auction 2017 (PDF) online as well.  Please consider donating items and hybridizers please consider donating irises to this super AIS fundraiser.

Debbie Strauss adds this note: Hey all you local societies, have you started collecting items from your area to give to your RVP for your Region’s Raisin’ Region basket for the Iowa AIS National Convention? The silent auction really needs and appreciates your participation and so do our shoppers. Contact your RVP about where to send your donations! Thank you.

You can reach Debbie at debbie@loveirises.com with questions or to let her know about your planned donations.