The Freedom From Religion Foundation urges all members to book their hotel rooms for its fun-filled annual convention in Wisconsin's scenic capital Come September.
The Sept. 15-17 gala event at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace in downtown Madison, Wis., will include speeches and entertainment by illustrious personalities and a tour of FFRF's Freethought Hall headquarters. Reserve your rooms now at the special convention rate of $183 before they're sold out. The rooms are going fast, and the deadline for booking at the discounted rate is Aug. 14.
Actress and comedian Julia Sweeney will be the Saturday evening keynote speaker. Sweeney, who rounds out a complete weekend lineup of performers and speakers, is perhaps best known as a member of the "Saturday Night Live" cast from 1990-94.
With so many great speakers set for this year's convention, the Friday schedule will begin at 3 p.m., earlier than the start of previous FFRF conventions. FFRF Honorary Board President Steven Pinker and Katha Pollitt will both speak prior to the "Forward" Tailgate Dinner, after 13-year-old Kelly Helton gives a five-minute student activist pep talk.
After the break, FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker will give the welcoming remarks, to be followed by Maryam Namazie, who will receive the Henry K. Zumach Freedom From Fundamentalism Award. Comedian Paula Poundstone will conclude Friday's events with her performance.
Saturday's schedule is just as exciting, and just as packed. You'll get to hear from FFRF's legal staff members regarding many of the major cases they worked on during the year. That will be followed by four freethinkers of the year presentations, activist Kimberly Veal, composer Brent Michael Davids, science communicator Cara Santa Maria, author and columnist Michelle Goldberg and singer-songwriter Roy Zimmerman. Sweeney will conclude the night with her remarks.
We'll be hosting a pre-convention open house tour of FFRF's stunning Freethought Hall, in downtown Madison just blocks from the convention site, from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, Sept. 15. We welcome you to mingle with others, chat with our staff, and visit FFRF's monument to Atheists in Foxholes (military and veterans). You can also stop by the charming Freethought Library to snap a souvenir photo with our life-size mannequin of Charles Darwin. Enjoy complimentary locally made pastries, coffee, tea, and Mimosas or Champagne in the sunny fourth-floor auditorium featuring an exquisite grand piano.
Friday evening, between program sessions, join us at the first-ever, Wisconsin-style FFRF Tailgate Party, held on the Rooftop Garden at Monona Terrace. Music from Madison's own Forward! Marching Band will liven the atmosphere. Grab your tailgate dinner and, if the Wisconsin spirit moves you, a traditional brandy old-fashioned at the cash bar. Then join in a game of bean bags, and meet some new secular friends.
Other annual events will include the Saturday "Non-Prayer Breakfast," the yearly drawing for "clean," pre-"In God We Trust" currency, and the opportunity to browse FFRF book and sales tables.