Deadlines draw near for award banquet

The Access Press Charlie Smith Award Banquet is Friday, November 3 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Bloomington. What […]

Generic Article graphic with Access Press emblem

The Access Press Charlie Smith Award Banquet is Friday, November 3 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Bloomington. What can readers do to help make the banquet a success? Nominate someone for the award itself.

Entries are due at 5 p.m. Tuesday, August 15. This is a week extension of the original deadline, so there is still a chance to throw someone’s hat into the ring. Everyone knows someone in Minnesota’s disability community who deserves recognition. Individuals or groups can be nominated. Forms are on the newspaper website here. Email [email protected] or call 651-644-2133 if there are questions. The newspaper staff can provide assistance if it is needed. The newspaper’s Board of Directors elects the winner.

The banquet honors the winner of the Charlie Smith Award, named in honor of the newspaper’s founding editor. It’s a great opportunity to salute community members who do so much for Minnesotans with disabilities. The banquet is a great time for friends, coworkers and family members to gather in support of the winner and nominees.

Fill out the nomination form and send as much information as possible about a nominee. Links to newspaper and broadcast stories about the nominee are a great help, as are personal comments and commendations. List a phone number and email address.

Remember, a person can be nominated more than once. But those who have been nominated for two consecutive years have to sit a year out before being nominated again. People cannot nominate themselves. Call the newspaper office to ask about past nominees.

Planning to attend? Taking friends? Reserve a table for eight by Fri, September 1 for $325 and save. Or register per person for $45 before Sept. 1. Tickets increase to $50 per person and $350 per table after September 1.

The newspaper is also continuing to seek banquet sponsors as well as donations for the silent auction and “pick a prize” raffle. The raffle is a fun way to vie for prizes. Buy tickets, put them in the designated jar and win a prize. A silent auction, with bidding on sheets, will also be held.

Donations of gift baskets, collectibles, art, gift certificates, new merchandise and more are needed for the raffle and silent auction. Past prizes have included stays in an accessible cabin, restaurant gift cards, theater and concert tickets, framed art, unique photos, handmade items and much more. Be creative and make a gift basket to promote a business. Show off knitting, sewing, woodworking or other skills. Make a basket for a movie night, a fondue party, a spa day, or a wine and cheese party. Proceeds benefit the newspaper and its work.

The Access Press Office Manager, Dawn, can answer questions about the banquet, tickets, sponsorships and the silent auction and raffle prizes. Call her at 651-644-2133 or email [email protected].



  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."
  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."

Mental Wellness