FFRF’s convention: All you need to know

Hotel accommodations

FFRF offers convention blocks at three hotels this year to accommodate more registrants!

Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, 9 E. Wilson Street, is the official convention hotel and closest to Monona Terrace. Rooms are $183 (single/double/triple/quad). Call 608-255-5100 to make a reservation for the “Freedom From Religion Foundation” group rate. The group rate reservation cut-off date is Aug. 16 (unless rooms sell out).

Best Western Premier Park Hotel, 22 S. Carroll Street, is right on the apitol Square, newly remodeled, and just 0.3 miles from Monona Terrace, about a 6-minute walk. Rooms are $189 (one bed for 1-2 people), $209 for 2 beds (1-4 people), or $249 for suites. Call toll-free 800-279-8811 or local 608-285-8000 to reserve rooms in the “Freedom From Religion Foundation 2017 Block.” The group rate reservation cut-off is Aug. 14 (unless rooms sell out).

Sheraton Madison Hotel, 706 John Nolen Drive, is 2 miles away from Monona Terrace on a lakeside walking/biking path, with shuttle service available. Call 608-251-2300 or 866-716-8134 (toll-free) to reserve a room at $149 (single/double/triple/quad). The group rate reservation cut-off date is Aug. 15 (unless rooms sell out).

About Monona Terrace

Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center was first designed by Wisconsin native and internationally renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1938 as a cultural, governmental and recreational building. While Wright´s design was used for the building´s exterior, the interior was redesigned by Wright apprentice and Taliesin architect Tony Puttnam to house state-of-the-art exhibition, meeting and public space. The space opened its doors after nearly 60 years of debate on July 18, 1997.

Today, nearly 390,000 people say “see you at Monona Terrace” each year.

1 John Nolen Drive
Madison, WI 53703

FFRF open house

Friday, Sept. 15, 9:30 a.m. – noon

Early birds are invited to tour FFRF’s beautiful, newly-expanded office, Freethought Hall, in downtown Madison, prior to the formal convention opening. Complimentary refreshments (light pastries, coffee, tea, orange juice, plus Champagne/Mimosas) will be served in the elegant Charlie Brooks Auditorium.

Reflect on a bench in front of FFRF’s granite monument dedicated to Atheists in Foxholes “and other freethinkers who have served our country with valor and distinction,” in the Rose Zerwick Memorial Garden & Courtyard.

Take a self-guided tour of FFRF’s national headquarters (with its five-floor addition) with the help of a souvenir brochure, featuring highlights of the building and FFRF history. Socialize with staff and other FFRF members as you peek into the building.
Visit the Joel B. Landon and Wanda K. Beers Freethought Library for a photo op with “Mr. Darwin,” an amazingly life-like, silicone mannequin of Charles Darwin by artist Sam Wheatley.

Take a cruise

Friday, Sept. 15, 10:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

FFRF convention attendeees are invited to take a boat cruise on Madison’s Lake Monona Friday, Sept. 15, prior to the start of the convention. The Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center, home to FFRF’s convention, overlooks the scenic lake.

For $50 per person, you’ll be treated to a two-hour tour with a buffet, featuring clam chowder, chips and Cajun dip, vegetarian variety platter, seafood salad, chicken salad, pasta salad, fruit salad, sliced deli meats/cheeses and assorted desserts. There is a cash bar for beverages. The tour begins at 10:45 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. We’ll have bus service to take you from Freethought Hall or the Hilton to the boat launch and back to the hotel, or you can walk the route. Maps will be available. Unfortunately, the yachts are not wheelchair accessible, as the walkways are tight and there are narrow stairs to the banquet area. There are two yachts and a total limit of 86 passengers. If you are coming as part of a group, FFRF will make sure your group is aboard the same boat.
Convention Menu

Friday, Sept. 15

Bucky’s Tailgate Buffet ($32)

A traditional Wisconsin tailgate party! Wisconsin Waldorf Salad, homestyle potato salad, fresh vegetable and relish tray, beer-boiled Johnsonville bratwurst with Wisconsin sauerkraut and chopped fresh onion, grilled boneless chicken breast, fresh-sliced tomato and crisp lettuce, Wisconsin calico baked beans, condiments and buns, coffee, tea or milk. Cash bar.

Saturday, Sept. 16

Non-Prayer Breakfast ($20)

Wisconsin cheese and chive scrambled eggs, apple-smoked bacon, rosemary wedge potatoes, ketchup compote, chef’s assortment of petite muffins, orange juice, coffee, tea and milk. Veggie option.

Saturday ‘Grab and Go’ box lunch ($20)

Includes your choice of roasted chicken or grilled vegetables on Kaiser roll with tomato, lettuce with condiments on the side, chips and a can of soda.

Saturday Banquet Dinner ($40)

Chicken Wellington: Delicate puff pastry filled with a boneless chicken breast, apple smoked bacon, shallots and mushrooms, served with mushroom-brown rice pilaf, fresh seasonal vegetable blend.

Portobello Wellington: Delicate puff pastry filled with fresh portabello mushrooms, herbs, shallots and risotto and served with grilled tomato.

Both entrees served with dinner rolls and butter, house salad with champagne-mustard vinaigrette, beverage (coffee, tea, or milk) and chocolate raspberry torte.

Bar opens at 6 p.m. Dinner served at 6:30 p.m.

Freedom From Religion Foundation