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20th Anniversary Glorious 4th Held at Alabama Freethought Advance

Meals must be ordered no later than June 24, 2009. Late registration at the door is $10 additional per person. (No meals may be ordered at the door.)

The annual “Glorious 4th” at Lake Hypatia, Ala., sponsored by the Alabama Freethought Association, a chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, takes place Friday – Sunday, July 3 – 5, 2009. The event, held in FFRF’s air-conditioned southern Freethought Hall auditorium, includes two and a half days of speakers, recreation–hikes, poetry reading and the “atheist vs. agnostic” softball tournament–and features an appreciation ceremony for freethinking veterans at the Atheists in Foxholes monument.

“We invite you to join our 20th year celebration at Lake Hypatia Freethought Hall for a fun program, laughter, and music, music, music. The lake is beautiful and the pavilion is cool,” says Pat Cleveland, AFA director.

Lake Hypatia is a freethought retreat started by the Cleveland family, which deeded property to the Foundation for a southern Freethought Hall, the Atheists in Foxholes monument and many charming touches honoring freethinkers. Pat opens up adjoining private grounds, including a breezy lakeside pavilion where meals are served. Primitive and self-contained RV camping is accommodated (sign up when you register; Pat needs advance reservations). Freethought Hall boasts accessible showers. The piney grounds abut a national forest.

The event starts at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 3 and concludes on Sunday by 3 p.m.

Lodging in nearby Talladega is available at Holiday Inn Express (supposed to open by June 27, phone 256-362-7780 and mention the Alabama Freethought Association, FFRF or Lake Hypatia to receive the group discount, $81/night plus tax), Super 8 at 256/315-9511 or Budget Inn, 256/362-0900. Inexpensive meals are served on site and must be ordered no later than Wed., June 24. (No meals may be ordered at the door. Plan ahead because this event is rural so no restaurants are close.)

Speakers this year include Foundation co-president and former minister Dan Barker, who is teaming up with Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and ex-Mormon Steve Benson of the Arizona Republic, for a reprise of their phenomenal Toons ‘n Tunes” revue. They will perform their show on Saturday night.

Joann Bell of the ACLU of Oklahoma will speak at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 4. Jeremy Hall will receive special recognition as an “atheist in a foxhole” on Saturday and participants will gather at the Atheist in Foxhole Monument adjoining Lake Hypatia Freethought Hall. Pat Cleveland and Alice Shiver will recap “20 Years of Chapter Activism.” Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor will show select billboards and TV coverage of FFRF activism over the past year. Bob Truett, former director of the Birmingham zoo, will give a nature talk and demonstration. The annual Freethought Trivial Pursuit will be hosted by Ed Buckner, who will also speak, along with Ed & Helen Kagin, Karon Park and Bob Collins, who will host a Former Minister Forum. Alice Shiver will lead a poetry reading and plenty of music will be interspersed along with time to lounge or hike.

Pat advises: “Bring your poems for the 20th poetry program. Please do not bring any pets. Neighborhood pets have claimed this as their territory and don’t welcome newcomers.”

Registration is $35 per FFRF member, $40 per non-member, $5 per student FFRF member and $10 per student non-FFRF member. There will be 4 group meals, $12 apiece per adult, $10 per student/child under 12, beginning Friday night. Local members will host a hotdog roast at noon on Friday, July 3 with nominal fee and veggie alternatives. The gathering ends on Sunday, July 5 with a Non-Prayer Brunch and several speakers.

Area Alabama FFRF members are invited to help with preparations on Saturday, June 20 for “Clean up” day starting at 9 a.m., with free lunch offered.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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