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30 Things Every Mackinac Policy Conference Attendee Should Know

The Mackinac Policy Conference is Michigan’s premier public policy event, held every year for four days at Mackinac Island’s prestigious Grand Hotel. The agenda is packed with sessions, receptions, networking opportunities, and more. This list will address many of the questions and concerns you may encounter preparing for the Conference – whether a first-time attendee or seasoned veteran.

Have your own item to add to the list? Use the hashtag #MPCThingsToKnow on social media.

First things first:

1. Ferry tickets will be electronic this year. Tickets will be emailed on Tuesday, Sept. 14 from Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, to the email address you used to register for the Conference. Ferry tickets will not be mailed. If you don’t receive an electronic ticket in your inbox, check your spam, junk, or clutter folders.

2. Didn’t receive your electronic ferry ticket for some reason? Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will have a list of attendees and can provide a round-trip ticket.

3. Ferries will run less frequently than the spring Conference. Please refer to the schedule posted at sheplersferry.com. Expect longer wait times and lines at the ferry dock due to the reduced schedule.

4. Valet parking will not be available. All parking options are self-parking: standard off-site parking for $10 a night and limited premium on-site parking for $30 a night.

5. Download the Conference App, sponsored by Kroger. This is the best way to stay up to date on everything happening in real-time. It even contains the attendee list, one of the most sought-after attendee resources on the island. To download, search “MPC21” or “Mackinac Policy Conference” in your device’s app store.

6. Once you have downloaded the app, be sure to personalize your profile and add a headshot so others can match a face to the name.

Your Conference packing list:

7. The Conference “dress code” is resort casual, which means no ties necessary.

8. Comfortable shoes are a must. You will walk a lot throughout the Conference, including daily trips up and down the hill to and from Grand Hotel (for those attendees not staying at Grand Hotel).

9. Mackinac Island temperatures in September range from an average high of 64° F and a low of 50° F. The sun will set at approximately 7:40 p.m. each day. The Chamber encourages you to check the weather forecast and pack appropriately.

10. While on the topic of unpredictable weather, be sure to pack an umbrella. For the health and safety of attendees, some social events and meals have been moved outside. In addition, you will likely venture off the Grand Hotel property at some point, so be prepared in the event of rain.

11. Bring plenty of business cards. Of course, if you do forget, the app allows you to exchange information.

12. Face masks will be required in the Theatre, Grand Pavilion, Brighton Pavilion, and other indoor high-traffic and close-quartered areas. While masks will be available on-site, you are encouraged to also bring your own.

13. If you are driving to the Conference, use Google Maps or Waze to help plan your drive and avoid the inevitable Michigan construction.

You made it to the island. Now what?

14. For those who have never visited Mackinac Island, there are no motorized vehicles. Horses and bicycles are the main modes of transportation.

15. On the topic of horses, make sure to watch where you step, especially at night.

16. Attendees not staying at Grand Hotel receive four complimentary taxi tickets with their registration, but those tickets do not include gratuity. Make sure to tip your taxi drivers. On the island, taxis are horse-drawn carriages.

17. You will need to show your CLEAR Health Pass at the registration desk when you check in to receive your Conference credentials. After you receive your credentials, you will not need to show your Health Pass again.

18. Once you register and receive your name badge, be sure to wear it to ALL Conference programs and events. Anybody not wearing their credentials will be escorted to registration or even off Grand Hotel property. Keep in mind there is a $50 fee for a badge reprint if your badge is lost.

19. For those attendees arriving late Monday, make sure to check in at the main Conference registration desk inside Grand Hotel before attending Opening Night at the Stables. Anybody without a badge will be denied entry. There will be complimentary taxi rides from Grand Hotel to the Stables, and back.

20. Upon arrival, all attendees receive a Conference bag full of session invites and useful items to help get through the week.

21. Use the Conference hashtag, #MPC21, and see your tweets scroll on the buzzboards, located throughout Grand Hotel.

Mark your calendar:

22. Registration will open Monday, Sept. 20 at noon. Be sure to arrive early and take advantage of early networking opportunities.

23. Theatre sessions start Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. Be sure to arrive early to the theatre to ensure you get a seat.

24. Didn’t make it to the theatre in time to get a seat? Alternative theatre session viewing is available in the Parlor, Grand Pavilion, and Brighton Pavilion, during almost all main stage sessions.

25. Lunch is served in the parlor on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

26. The Tea Garden Tent will be open on Tuesday and Wednesday for attendees to gather, meet, or enjoy lunch outdoors. If you plan to eat in the Tea Garden Tent, be sure to grab your boxed lunch from the Parlor.

27. Grab a cocktail Wednesday for Evening View: Mackinac Uncensored, as several of Michigan’s most prominent thought leaders engage in spirited banter on the state’s hot-button issues.

28. Before heading downtown on Wednesday, don’t miss the PAC Reception: Mackinac-a-Glow. This year the reception will be held at the Esther Williams Swimming Pool Terrace and will feature Quack for the PAC rubber duck races. This event requires a separate registration.

29. Wednesday night features two popular events: On the Island. Off the Record. sponsored by Dow in the Tea Garden Tent followed by A Toast to Your Health in the Michigan Health & Hospital Association Bar. But remember, you must wear your badge to enter these fan-favorite events.

30. Thursday features the Conference’s closing program in the Parlor: 2021 To-Do List with Detroit Public Television. Hear some sizzling debates and hot takes on multiple topics in a strolling setting. Don’t ferry off the island before checking out this dynamic program.

Keep up with these tips and more on social media and the Conference App sponsored by Kroger. If you are a Conference veteran, feel free to share your #MPC21 experience in the app by leaving a comment on the Activity Feed. See you on the island!