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31 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. For the first-time attendee, the week can appear daunting, while veteran attendees may find themselves asking some of the same questions they had in years past. This list will (attempt to) address all of those questions and concerns in a somewhat chronological order.

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

Before you even pack your bags:

1. Confirmation packets are mailed to all attendees in mid-May and contain one ferry ticket. Each ferry ticket is round-trip, so be sure to keep your ticket.

2. If for any reason you did not receive your ferry ticket in the mail, not to worry! Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will have a list of attendees and can provide a round-trip ticket.

3. Download the Conference App, sponsored by Kroger. This is the best way to stay up-to-date on all everything happening in real-time. It even contains the attendee list, arguably the most sought-after attendee resource on the island.

4. 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.

Now, on to the packing…

5. The Conference “dress code” is business casual, which means NO TIES NECESSARY.

6. 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).

7. The weather on Mackinac Island is similar to the rest of Michigan: unpredictable. That means dress in layers and pack warm, especially if you are staying far from Grand Hotel or in Mackinaw City.

8. While on the topic of unpredictable weather, be sure to pack an umbrella. The Conference may be mostly indoors, but chances are you will venture off the Grand Hotel property at some point, so be prepared in the event of rain.

9. Bring plenty of business cards. You don’t want to be that person who forgot cards. Of course, if you do forget, the app allows for you to exchange information.

A few quick items for your trip to the island

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

11. Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry has added ferry trips specifically for the Conference. Check out the full ferry schedule online as well as other ferry travel updates. Did you forget your ferry ticket? Scroll back up to tip number two…

You made it to the island, now what?

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

13. Following up on the topic of horses, make sure to constantly watch where you step, especially at night.

14. 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 (taxis are horse-drawn carriages, by the way).

15. If you are staying at Mission Point, there is a specific taxi schedule just for you. The schedule will be available at Mission Point when you arrive. Download the Mission Point taxi schedule here.

16. Once you register and receive your name badge, be sure to wear it to ALL Conference programs and events. Security will be heightened this year and anybody not wearing their credentials will be escorted to registration or even off Grand Hotel property. For more information, check out the official credential policy.

17. For those attendees arriving late Tuesday, 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.

18. Be sure not to lose your badge. If you do, there is a $50 fee for a badge reprint.

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

20. Check out the Conference Snapchat filter and tell all your friends how awesome the Conference is! Or, if you don’t have Snapchat, use the Conference hashtag, #MPC19, and see your tweets scroll on the buzzboards, located throughout Grand Hotel.

Get to the programming already!

21. Registration will open Tuesday, May 28 at noon. Be sure to arrive early and take advantage of early networking opportunities.

22. To get a better feel for what to expect at the Conference, attend the Mackinac 101 Attendee Orientation: Making the Most of the Conference on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the MHA/Audubon Wine Bar.

23. Main stage sessions start Wednesday 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? The Brighton Pavilion provides comfortable overflow seating for attendees during almost all main stage sessions.

25. Lunch is served in the parlor on both Wednesday and Thursday. Be sure to grab yours!

26. Hosted lunch sessions will provide food for attendees in those rooms. Do not grab a lunch from the parlor if you plan on seeing one.

27. New in 2019, end your Wednesday evening with the Love Michigan Celebration, hosted by Consumers Energy President and CEO and Conference Chair Patti Poppe. Celebrate everything there is to love about our beautiful state under the stars in the Tea Garden Tent.

28. Thursday morning programming starts very early at 7:30 a.m. with sessions hosted by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development and Wayne State University.

29. Before heading to the night’s receptions, don’t miss the PAC Reception: Michigan’s Quadrant Leaders Collaborating for One Michigan. This event requires a separate registration.

30. Thursday 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 MHA/Audubon Wine Bar. But remember, you must wear your badge to gain entry into these fan favorite events!

31. Friday features the Conference’s closing program in the Parlor: Morning View: Mackinac Uncensored. 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 #MPC19 experience in the app by leaving a comment on the Mackinac Today Feed. See you on the island!