Shriners convention in Cincinnati all week

The Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, commonly known as the Prince Hall Shriners, is coming to Cincinnati on August 12-18 for its 2011 Imperial Council Session.

The convention is estimated to attract 25,000 visitors including paid conference attendees as well as visitors to the Shriners Annual Street Parade, Cincy Culture Splash and other public special events associated with the convention.

The Prince Hall Shriners have contracted 14,000 hotel room nights with an economic impact of $4 million. The convention will be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center (DECC) and delegates will utilize hotels throughout downtown and Northern Kentucky.

The Prince Hall Shriners 2011 annual convention marks the 50th anniversary of the organization's last visit to Cincinnati USA in 1961. It also marks the 110th anniversary of the first-ever annual session, held in New Jersey in 1901.

For the 2011 session, thousands of members from across the country will attend, from both the Shrine Organization itself and its Auxiliary – the Imperial Court Daughters of Isis, composed of wives, sisters, mothers and daughters of the membership. The Daughters of Isis is celebrating their 100th Imperial Court Session.

The oldest African-American fraternal organization in the world, the Prince Hall Shriners was founded in 1893 as a social, benevolent and charitable organization. Its membership – nearly 35,000 people in 227 Shrine Temples and 200 Courts throughout North America, Europe and Asia – is dedicated to fostering civic, economic and educational development programs throughout the world.

Local residents are encouraged to attend the Prince Hall Shriners Annual Street Parade on Wednesday, August 17 from 6:30 to 9:30pm. The Parade will run across Fifth Street from Eggleston to Plum Street and feature Shrine Temples from all over the nation.

Many other convention events are free to the general public. Highlights include:

  • The Shrine Expo Hall from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 13 at the DECC. The Expo will feature 150-175 vendors selling clothing, jewelry and other goods.
  • The Prince Hall Shriners Diabetes Walk on August 13 from 8 – 9:30 a.m. at Sawyer Point.
  • On Sunday, August 14, the Shriners are holding a member Bowling Tournament at Brentwood Bowl located at 9176 Winton Road from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and are conducting Diabetes Testing from 3 – 5 p.m. at the DECC.
  • Opening Ceremonies take place Monday, August 15 at 8 a.m. at DECC Hall C, featuring the Shrine's Drill Patrol, Marching Clubs, clown cars and color guard. Imperial Potentate Parks will be available for interviews from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Also on Monday, August 15, the Daughters of Isis will hold its annual Drill and Color Guard Competition from 3 – 6 p.m. and the Parade of Stars (Bicycles, Clowns, Marching Clubs & Strollers) is scheduled for 6 – 7 p.m., both at DECC Hall A.
  • On Tuesday, August 16, a full day of motor patrol and bicycle competitions and exhibitions are planned, capped off by the "Fun Night at the Oasis" gala at the Millennium Hotel, featuring riding, hula hoop, limbo and a comedy show featuring Kim Vaughn and the Pyramid Dream Girls.
  • On Wednesday, August 17, the Shrine will hold its Book Bag Program from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Cincinnati's School for the Creative and Performing Arts, donating a book bag and all school supplies to every student at SCPA. That evening, the Annual Street Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m.
  • The convention will close on Thursday, August 18 with the Joint Imperial Ball at 8 p.m. at the Hyatt Hotel's Grand Ballroom.

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