This past saturday a coworker and I decided to visit the Abilities Expo that was being held in Downtown Atlanta. disABILITY LINK had a booth there, so we wanted to support our volunteers as well as see all the cool exhibitors. Little did we know what else was going on at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) that day. Upon arriving at the station I saw cheer leaders everywhere, when we arrived inside the GWCC the infestation had worsened. We had clearly stumbled into their nest. There were cheerleaders scurrying up the walls and all over the floors, molting shoes and jackets all the while. There was also a hair show going on, but the cheerleaders (approximately 75,000 of them) would prove to be the real issue: I managed to get ensnared in a duffelbag, my friend and I inadvertently walked through someone’s routine (that was taking place in the middle of the floor) nearly being trampled/pummeled with flying people. I’ve never been so glad to see a roped off area in my life.
When we got to the Abilities Expo area much of the chaos had ceased, a pleasant woman helped us fill out our registration information (it would have been nice to have a more accessible format, but the support of the staff was much appreciated). We got our bags (which could have also been friendlier for people with visual impairments) and we were off. This show was amazing, there were so many exhibitors with a variety of wares. The accessible vehicles were one of the best things I saw. I can’t drive, but seeing the variety of modifications and styles of accessible vehicle was nice. I generally picture a mini-van when I think of an accessible car, but here we had motorcycles, pickup trucks, a BMW, such a variety of beautiful cars.
The variety of vendors was really nice. You had some medical supply places, accessories for power chairs, exercise equipment, different local groups for peer support, accessible vehicles, an artists market and many, many others. I was so glad that disABILITY LINK had a booth there; this was an excellent opportunity to network with our peers that we may not see often as well as an opportunity to network with providers of services and goods so that we can provide information and support for our consumers.
The fact that this was free was also a great bonus, especially for people in the disability community who may be on fixed incomes. Getting to sample the the products and speak with the manufacturers and vendors was a great. I absolutely recommend visiting this the next time it’s in town, or when it’s in a location near you.