Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America
Carl T. Seibert, COO/State Secretary
The 2021 Grand Lodge Convention is rapidly approaching! The following information will assist you in planning your visit later this week.
The Florida delegation hotel is the JW Marriott Hotel located at 510 Water Street, Tampa, FL 33602. It is located directly across the street from the regular Marriott Hotel. There are many one-way streets in downtown Tampa so you would be well-advised to follow a maps app or other GPS-type device to aid you in your navigation.
The JW Tampa Marriott Water Street is located just a short 4–5-minute walk from the convention center. Florida is the only state completely housed at the JW Marriott.
The Grand Lodge hotel is the regular Marriott located directly across the street from our hotel, the JW Marriott, and the two hotels are connected by a sky bridge on their second floors.
The check-in time for the JW Marriott is 4:00 p.m. and check-out is 11:00 a.m.
Convention attendees will want to plan to arrive in Tampa by Saturday, July 3rd as the Opening Ceremonies begin on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Exalted Rulers and Alternate Delegates are required to attend all general sessions and the opening ceremonies. The final general session of the convention will end around 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday.
The JW Marriott offers only valet parking at a cost of $32.00 per day plus tax. This is the daily fee regardless of the number of times you come and go. There are several self-parking parking garages in the vicinity of the JW Marriott and the convention center. The garage nearest to the JW Marriott is the Pam Iorio Parking Garage and it is $12.00 per day. The other is the Convention Center Garage, and it too is $12.00 per day. Keep in mind, when parking in the garages, the hourly fee starts over each time you leave and re-enter.
For those that did Online Grand Lodge Registration, your name badges, voting credentials, and session tickets will be available to pick up at the FL Elks Registration Table located in the MacDill Meeting Room next to the elevator/escalator on the 2nd floor of the JW Marriott. Here too, you will receive your FL Hospitality Room Tickets and your FL Dinner tickets.
A very limited number of tickets for the FL Dinner will be available for purchase at the FL Elks Registration Table until sold-out.
The FL Elks Registration Table will be staffed on the following schedule:
If you are a Local Support Committee Volunteer, your name badges, voting credentials, and session tickets will be available to pick up in the Manpower room in the Tampa Convention Center. The Manpower Room is in Meeting Rooms 1 & 2 on the 1st floor of the convention center.
If you missed the Online Grand Lodge Registration or if you are unable to secure your name badge from either the FL Registration Table or the Manpower Room in the Tampa Convention Center, you will need to go to the On-site Registration in Ballroom A of the Tampa Convention Center to register. The schedule for this is as follows:
Grand Lodge name badges and this year session tickets, are required to gain entry to all events, and your voting credentials are required to be in your possession to be able to vote during the legislative session.
The Ritual Competition will take place in the Tampa Convention Center. Florida’s best, Gainesville Lodge #990 is scheduled to compete at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 3rd and Florida’s Tracey Austin from Tallahassee Lodge #937 is scheduled to compete in the first-ever Eleven O’clock Toast Competition at 10:15 a.m. on Monday, July 5th.
The official Grand Lodge Opening Ceremonies will be held at the Tampa Convention Center on Sunday, July 4th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The opening ceremonies will be followed by entertainment until 9:00 p.m. which will include food and beverage for purchase. Fireworks will be shot over the bay and will be easily visible from many different vantage points in the convention center area.
Members and accompanied guests are encouraged to attend the opening ceremonies. Florida attendees are encouraged to wear orange jackets or orange shirts to all sessions of the Grand Lodge and to sit in the area designated for the Florida delegation starting Monday. There is no reserved seating for the opening ceremonies on Sunday, but I am sure someone will make sure to hold some seats for Florida. Just look for the Orange! Also, be reminded that all Exalted Rulers or Alternate Delegates are required to check-in with their Endorsed District Deputy prior to the beginning of each official Grand Lodge session.
The Florida Dinner will be held in the Grand Ballroom located on the 2nd floor in the Marriott located directly across the street from the JW Marriott. The two hotels are connected by a sky bridge on their second floors. The dinner will be held on Tuesday, July 6th starting with dancing and a cash bar from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dinner will be served at 8 p.m. followed by a brief program. Dress for the event is business casual
A highlight of the Grand Lodge Convention each year is the Florida Hospitality Room. The hospitality room will be held in the Marriott Terrace Room located on the ground floor of the Tampa Marriott, the hotel across the street from the JW Marriott. There is a sky bridge located on the 2nd floor of the hotel. The schedule for the hospitality room is as follows:
“No Give Back” 50/50 Drawings Sat., Sun., & Mon. – Do not need to be present to win
First Two Hours Each Night for Ticket Holders Only
In deference to the many attendees who paid the $25 per person per day fee, the first two hours of each night, when the light food items are served, will be open to ticketholders only.
I think you are going to enjoy Tampa, the Grand Lodge Convention, the Sunday night Celebration and the JW Tampa Marriott Water Street!
I am looking forward to seeing you in Tampa next week and as always, if I may be of any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me!
Sincerely and fraternally,
Carl Seibert, COO/State Secretary
Florida State Elks Association