Eat Downtown Des Moines – Friday Evening

Take advantage of a special opportunity to “dine-a-round” downtown Des Moines’ award-winning and innovative food scene. The convention committee has arranged for group reservations at three downtown restaurants at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 26. Click on the names to visit each restaurant’s website and peruse the dinner menu.

Django (20 people)

Django is a comfortable, family-friendly brasserie offering everything you love about French cuisine without the attitude and featuring seasonal ingredients. It’s been a mainstay of the downtown dining scene for many years.

Bubba (20 people)

Bubba is a newcomer to the downtown dining scene as of last summer, specializing in Southern favorites and classic cocktails with a recently appointed new chef. Bonus: the bar stocks a large array of whiskies!

Vivian’s Diner and Drinks (30 people)

Vivian’s is billed as a “new modern diner” and located in the historic Hotel Kirkwood. Modern interiors have an upscale twist and the menu offers contemporary, but hearty revivals of old diner favorites.

Here’s what you need to know to participate:

  • Ready for dinner? Sign-up for reservation spots when you check in at the convention registration desk on the third floor of the Downtown Marriott Hotel. The sign-up will be next to the bus sign-up sheets!
  • Reservation space first come, first serve. The convention committee must turn in final commitments to the restaurants by close of day on Wednesday.
  • Diners are responsible for their own tab. The convention committee has simply made the group arrangements as a courtesy to convention attendees as they plan for a free evening.
  • All three restaurants are short walks from the convention hotel. For those who want to walk, a docent/leader will guide groups to the restaurants and depart the hotel at 5:45 p.m. Limited street parking is available at each restaurant. Taxis or rideshare services (Uber) are also available.

The Dine-A-Round is a great way to meet new people, experience great local cuisine while someone else takes care of the reservation!

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Saturday Iris Auction

The 2017 convention will feature a live auction of selected convention guests on Saturday afternoon starting at 1 p.m. in the Hall of Cities Room on the third floor of the Des Moines Downtown Marriott. The auction will feature three lots: medians, tall bearded and beardless. Each lot will last one hour and feature 40-50 varieties.

Here’s what you need to know to participate:

  • A catalog of auction irises will be posted on the convention website the week prior to convention.
  • Your registration number printed on your convention badge serves as your bidder number.
  • All sales are final and cash, check or credit will be accepted at checkout. All tabs must be finalized at the conclusion of the auction.
  • A cash bar will be available during the auction.

Saturday Symposium Speakers

Iris cycloglossa and Tony

Tony Hall working on juno frame at Kew

One of the features of the 2017 AIS Convention is a Saturday morning Symposium featuring three great speakers.  Come to hear Tony Hall of the Royal Botanical Garden, Kew on The Juno Iris Species, Dawn Boyer the immediate past RVP of Region 17 with Artistic Iris Arrangements, and Cathy Egerer the president of HIPS on Agnes Whiting and the Journey to Blue Rhythm.  Learn more about the 2017 Symposium Program speakers (PDF).  Note that Dawn Boyer’s presentation qualifies for AIS Judges Training credit; but, is open to all.

Did you know that you can click on a photo to see it and then click on it again to see a larger version?  Try it with the Iris cycloglossa photo!

Host Garden – Messer’s Garden

messergarden

The Messer Garden is in an urban setting in small town Iowa. Wayne and Pam live in Huxley, in Story County, just south of Ames. The five guest bearded iris beds begin along the driveway, drift along the south edge of the yard, wrap around the house and create a border for the cherry orchard (in progress). In addition to 242 bearded guests, you will find over 100 additional bearded irises and a sprinkling of Siberians.

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/.

Friday 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 Friday 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/