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SAF Annual Convention FAQs

How do I get to the hotel from the airport? The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island is approximately 40 minutes from Jacksonville International Airport (JAX). Estimated taxi fare is $65-$75 one way. The hotel does not provide shuttle service.
Hotel address:
The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
4750 Amelia Island Pkwy
Amelia Island, FL 32034, USA
Is there a daily parking fee? The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island has valet parking for $26 plus tax per vehicle, per night. Rate is subject to change. 
What’s the first thing I should do when I get to the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island? After checking in to the hotel, head to the SAF Registration Desk, located outside the Talbot Ballroom, to pick up your registration materials, convention booklet and other items. The hotel concierge can point you toward the Talbot Ballroom.
When is the SAF Registration Desk open?
  • Wednesday, Sept. 18: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 19: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 20: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Do I need to wear my name badge the entire convention?
Yes! Your name badge gives you access to the SAF convention programs and events, and encourages other participants to greet you.
What happens if I lose my name badge? Stop by the SAF Registration Desk for a new one.
I’ve never been before — what if I don’t know anyone? For starters, even if you think you don’t know anyone, you actually do — everyone on the SAF staff (easy to recognize — in royal blue SAF logo shirts). Consider them your new best friends, ready to chat and introduce you to other participants throughout the event.
We host a private reception for first time participants that will make you feel right at home.
First-Timers’ Reception
Wednesday, Sept. 18
5 – 5:45 p.m.
Talbot Colonnade
At this event, you will meet SAF Volunteer Leaders and other “first timers.” Don’t be shy — talk to as many people as possible at every event. You’ll be surprised by how many new friends and business contacts you’ll make.
What should I wear?
  • Wear your name badge to all events.
  • Average September temperatures on Amelia Island are 85/high or 72/low.
  • Wednesday’s President’s Welcome Reception and Friday’s Networking Reception are outside so dress comfortably for the weather.
  • “Resort casual” is the fashion for convention: casual shirts, slacks, shorts or dresses.
  • Bring a light jacket or sweater for cool air conditioned ballrooms and meeting rooms.
  • “Business Attire” is what to wear to Thursday’s AFE Fundraising Dinner and Saturday’s Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner: collared shirts, ties and jackets, pantsuits or dresses.

What else should I bring to convention? Business cards. You will need them for all the networking you will do.

Do I really have to show up for the breakfasts at 7 a.m.? Yes! Our breakfast buffet line opens at 7 a.m. The program promptly begins at 7:30 a.m. The breakfast buffet closes around 8 a.m. You don’t have to show up at 7 a.m., but if you arrive after 7:30 (but before 8 a.m.) you will be able to get breakfast but will miss some of the program. (Don’t worry, an SAF staff member will help you find a seat).

What meals are covered with a full convention registration?

  • Wednesday, Sept. 18: Light dinner at the President’s Welcome Party
  • Thursday, Sept. 19: Kick-Off Breakfast, Refreshment Breaks, and late afternoon treats at the Supplier Expo
  • Friday, Sept. 20: Innovation Breakfast, Refreshment Breaks, Networking Reception
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: Keynote Breakfast, Refreshment Breaks, and the Awards Reception and Dinner
What about lunch? We encourage you to enjoy a networking lunch on your own.
Where’s a good place to eat? The Ritz-Carlton has four restaurants and The Lobby Bar. The hotel concierge can provide recommendations.
Is it OK to slip into educational sessions late? Yes. You may go in and out of sessions as needed. Please enter and exit as quietly as possible, and turn off your cell phone ringer.
How should I organize my time at the convention? With so many scheduled sessions and events, you have many choices. Make highlights of the ‘must attend’ programs in the Program Booklet that you’ll receive at the SAF Registration Desk and Convention App. If you are attending with more than one person from your company, ‘divide and conquer’ might be the best approach.
What are some of the favorite events? The President’s Welcome Party, Outstanding Varieties Competition, Supplier Expo, New Products Showcase, SAFPAC Golf Tournament*, Sylvia Cup Design Competition and Saturday’s Awards Dinner and Afterglow Party are all favorites.
I’ve been coming for years — what new things can I expect this year? You don’t want to miss the main stage keynotes.
  • At the Kick-Off Breakfast, SAF CEO Kate Penn unveils SAF’s new strategic plan in the “State of the Industry — and SAF.”
  • Derek C. Woodruff, AIFD, CFD, CF, PFCI, and Helen Miller, AIFD, PFCI, present the “2020 Floral Trends Forecast Preview,” the industry’s leading forecast of flower trends and floral styles for events and weddings.
  • Floral industry economic analyst Charlie Hall, Ph.D., points out factors driving consumer purchases and recommends ways floral businesses can prepare for the next recession in “Forecasting Amidst Expansion, Trade Wars and a Looming Downturn.” He’ll also reveal “What Consumers REALLY Want,” which details the findings of a new study tracking shoppers’ eye view of floral arrangements.
  • Dustin Garis, a leading retail expert, dives into what’s in store for e-commerce and the steps you need to take to stay ahead of consumer expectations during “The Experience Revolution” at the new Innovation Breakfast.
  • During “How I Did It,” SAF’s version of TED Talks, Rakini Chinery, AAF, AzMF, Marta Maria Garcia and Danny Sanchez, share their very own personal and inspiring stories.
  • Plus, check out the five experience zones in between educational sessions with members giving mini-demos on photo editing, video editing, time management, packaging and care and handling of tropicals.
  • The last education session — the Next Level Idea Exchange — is your chance to swap strategies with your peers. Several speakers will be on hand to offer additional insight and guided practice.
Can I follow SAF’s convention on social media? Absolutely! Follow SAF at:

And please share your convention photos and experiences using #safconv. Post pictures in the Social Lounge on the convention app, too!

Will SAF provide copies of the speaker handouts? Yes. Handouts are available for most of the sessions; if they are not, then the slide presentation (as well as any handout, for those who didn’t attend that session) will be accessible on the convention app and at

Can my partner, child, or family member accompany me at convention? Absolutely! Convention programs and events require a badge for entry. Tickets for the convention breakfasts and evening events are available at the SAF Registration Desk. Evening events are the most popular times to bring guests — Wednesday’s President’s Reception, Thursday’s AFE Fundraising Dinner, Friday’s Networking Reception, and Saturday’s Awards Dinner and Afterglow Party. The Outstanding Varieties Exhibit and the Sylvia Cup Design Competition are both popular and open to the public for free. 

What is the AFE Dinner?* The American Floral Endowment’s Annual Fundraising Reception & Dinneris on Thursday evening. AFE is the floral industry’s charitable organization that funds programs dedicated to advancing the industry. Since 1961, AFE has funded more than $16 million for floriculture research and more than $1.5 million in scholarships and internships to attract and retain the next generation workforce. There is no SAF convention event planned for Thursday evening, so join your fellow industry members to cupport and celebrate AFE research and educational efforts. Separate registration is required to attend. Stop by the SAF Registration Desk to purchase tickets.

What if I have a question or need help? Who can I ask? Absolutely anyone on the SAF staff (in the blue shirts) — we are ready to resolve any issue that comes up.

* Additional fee applies.

2019 © Society of American Florists

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