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MononaTerrace Web 



Join us for an unbelievably good time

Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
One John Nolen Drive
Madison, WI 53703

FFRF is proud to be hosting its 40th annual national convention in Madison, Wis, this year, which will include high-profile personalities, a tour of FFRF's Freethough Hall and a two-hour boat cruise around Lake Monona.

The convention takes place the weekend of Sept. 15-17, largley at the lakeside Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wis. Early-birds signing up for FFRF's 40th convention get a disounted rate of only $40! Sign up by clicking on our "registration" page. 

A pre-convention open house of FFRF's impressibe Freethough Hall, in downdown Madison just blocks from the convention site, will be hosten from 9:30 a.m. to noon Friday. Mingle with others, meet staff and visit FFRF's monument to Atheists in Foxholes (military and veterans). Take a souvenir photo with the life-size mannequin of Charles Darwin in Freethought Library. Enjoy complementary pastries, hot beverages, Mimosas and Champagn in the lovely fourth-floor auditorium featuring a beautiful grand piano.

An optional relaxing boat cruise with buffet lunch on Madison's Lake Monona starts at 10:45 a.m. Friday. You'll be out on the water for two hours, with a great view of the Monona Terrace and Convention Center, returning to shore at 1 p.m. Although walkable, a shuttle bus will be offered.

Recently added to the list of speakers are science educators Cara Santa Maria, renowned sculptor Zenos Frudakis and 12-year-old activist Kelly Helton, plus a roster of victorious state / church plaintiffs. Santa Maria is a Los Angeles area Emmy and Knight Foundation Award winning journalist, science communicator and host of the weekly science podcast, "Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria" and cohost of the popular "Skeptics' Guide to the Universe." She'll receive FFRF's Freethough Heroine Award. Frudakis, from Philadelphia, is an award-winning sculptor of public monuments, portrait statues, busts and figurative sculptures. He'll be talking about creating his newsmaking statue of Clarence Darrow, to be installed in July on the lawn of the Rhea County Courthouse, site of the Scopes Trial, in Dayton Tenn. Helton, a seventh-grader from Kentucky, will give a short talk about her activism, including sitting down for the Pledge of Allegiance (which led to others to do the same), and successful efforts to get her public school to stop playing religious songs. 

Next month we will announce those to be named Freethinker of the Year, an award reserved for state/church complaints, and other speakers. Previously announced speakers include: 

Michelle Goldberg, Brooklyn author, columnist for Slate and frequent MSNBC commentator on the Religious Right. 

Maryam Namazie, an Iranian-born secularist and human rights activist, commentator and broadcaster living in London. She will be receiving the 2017 Henry H. Zumach Freedom From Fundamentalist Religon Award. 

Steven Pinker, FFRF's honorary president, a Harvard cognitive scientist, psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. 

As always, FFRF's legal team will present its yearly Accomplishments panel, reporting the inside scoop of FFRF's 2017 legal cases. Other annual events include the "Non-Prayer Breakfast," the annual drawing for "clean," pre-"In God We Trust" currency and the opportunity to browse FFRF book and sales tables. Entertainment will be Roy Zimmerman, an American satirical singer-songwriter and guitarist with a repertoire or irreverent songs, and FFRF Co-President Dan Barker at the piano with his own repertoire, plus Forward! Marching Band. 

gEneral schedule

Convention registration opens at 2 p.m. at Monona Terrace, with snacks and opening talks you won’t want to miss between 3-5 p.m. For Friday dinner, sign up for the optional first-ever FFRF Tailgate Party, (featuring Forward! Marching Band), serving up Wisconsin tailgate favorites from 5-6:45 p.m. in the convenient lakeside Grand Terrace. The evening program begins Friday at 7 p.m., ending with complimentary cupcakes and beverages in the Grand Terrace. The convention resumes Saturday with the optional Non-Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m. The morning program starts at 9:30 a.m. After a two-hour lunch on your own (with an optional “Grab and Go” Box Lunch available) the program resumes at 2 p.m. The dinner banquet is followed by the “clean money” drawing, evening speaker and entertainment. Sunday morning features the annual meetings of members and state representatives, ending by noon. 

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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