Conference Fee: Includes credentials, conference materials, entrance to meetings, forums, and general access to the Grand Hotel. Fee does not include hotel accommodations or meals.
The meal tickets are extra (Unless you are staying at the Grand Hotel), and this year there are two candidates at each speech. I haven't decided if I'm going to any of them or not. I was at the ones for 05 and saw Brownback and Romney there. This year, the following are there:
$65 - Friday Dinner - Duncan Hunter, Rudy Giuliani
$20 - Saturday Breakfest - Ron Paul, Sam Brownback
$30 - Saturday Lunch - Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney
$65 - Saturday Dinner - Fred Thompson, John McCain
For those worried about costs, there are ways to reduce them. The first is staying outside of the island itself. I'm staying in Mackinaw City instead of on the island because of the costs differences. Another way to reduce costs is to volunteer for one of the campaigns (either presidential or other) while up there. Some campaigns take volunteers and pay for the stay with the expection of a couple of days of work up there.
There are a lot of receptions there as well. I know Chris Ward and Mike Rogers both had them in 05. With good timing, you can sometimes get a lot of one on one discussion time with some of the candidates or reps, particulary downticket. With 10 presidential candidates there, we may even be able to see that among one of them, particulary the darkhorses, maybe even a frontrunner. Newt Gingrich will also be there as well running one of the shows. He may or may not be running, but it's always an interesting event when he's speaking.
Away from the glitz, the panels there where quite good. Last year, the best one I was at was the pollsters and pundits panel. That's the middle of my element, and I'll be there for certain. I'm not sure what the other conference panels are yet, but I'll be a couple of those as well, particular if they are similar to last time.
That's not to mention that the conference is in the best part of Michigan - Up North. It's a great weekend, and I highly recommend it.