Outreach & Events - Freedom From Religion Foundation
Conventions

Conventions

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Maps

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Maps

More information coming soon! 

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Schedule

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Schedule


 TENTATIVE SCHEDULE

Schedule subject to changes.

FRIDAY, NOV. 2
All events on Pacific Concourse Level unless noted otherwise.

Noon    Registration opens
           Continues through convention.
           Pacific Foyer

Friday Afternoon Program
1 PM-3 PM   Speakers TBA

3 - 3:30   Coffee, light refreshments
                     Open til 5 p.m.

3:30-5     Salman Rushdie
                    Emperor Has No Clothes Award
                    Book signing follows

5-7 PM     Dinner on your own

7 PM        Evening Welcome
                    Dan Barker & Annie Laurie Gaylor
               Year in Review Presentation
               Music

7:30        Actor John de Lancie
                          First “Clarence Award” presentation
8:15        Julia Sweeney: "Older & Wider”
                          Stand Up Comedy

9:30        Dessert Reception

10:15      Late night film TBA

SATURDAY, NOV. 3
All events on Pacific Concourse Level unless noted otherwise.

8:00 AM   Non-Prayer Breakfast
                      For ticket holders
                Pacific A-G
                Pacific Foyer

               Registration re-opens, continues through Saturday
               Pacific Foyer

9:30        Welcome
                     Lisa Strand, Director of Operations
                     “Nothing Fails Like Prayer” song by Dan Barker
                     “Nothing Fails Like Prayer” Winner
               Pacific H-O

10:00      Speakers TBA

Noon-2    Lunch, sightseeing on your own

2-5 PM    Speakers TBA

6 PM       Banquet Dinner with cash bar
                    for ticket holders
              Pacific A-G

8            Clean Money Drawing

8:30       Leighann Lord
              “Real Women Do It Standing Up”

9            Adam Savage
              Emperor Has No Clothes Award

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4
All events take place in Waterfront CDE

8:30 AM   Pastries, coffee available for members while they last

9            Annual Membership meeting
                    Open to all current FFRF members

11:15 AM   Annual State Representatives Meeting


Adjourn by Noon

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Hotel

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Hotel

1Hyatt-Regency-San-Francisco-P127-Exterior-1280x720

HOTEL INFORMATION  

Five Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, California 94111

Reserve a room now!  

Convention room rates at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco are $235 (single/double/triple/quadruple occupancy). Rooms are being held for Thursday, Nov. 1, Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday Nov. 3, 2018. A $1 room assessment and state and local taxes of 16.25% also apply. Register for a room online or call Central Reservations toll-free at 1-888-421-1442 or non toll free at 402-592-6464. If calling, the room block is under the group name, "Freedom From Religion Foundation." You may reserve through October 10, 2018, unless the block sells out earlier. To avoid disappointment, reserve now!

The Hyatt Regency is only steps away from the California Street cable car line stop, ferry terminals and BART stations. It is located about 15 miles from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and 19.6 miles from the Oakland International Airport (OAK). The hotel’s website offers a map and driving directions so that you can plan your trip effectively.

TRANSPORTATION FROM AIRPORT 

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) connects San Francisco Airport to Downtown San Francisco for $8.65 each way. The Hyatt is located steps away from the Embarcadero BART Station.

GUEST PARKING

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco offers guests the convenience of indoor valet parking, with in and out privileges. Valet parking with in-and-out privileges costs $70.68 per night including tax. The service is located on our Drumm Street entrance. Assisted self-parking is also offered for $34 per night. High profile cars, such as SUVs, up to 12-feet high can be valet parked. Note that if the vehicle needs two spaces, guest will be charged for two cars.

AMENITIES

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco includes fitness and leisure amenities such as a 24-hour StayFit™ gym, waterfront running and walking paths, Blazzing Saddles bike rentals, Chromecast interactive in-room entertainment and a club lounge with a 360-degree view of the city and the bay. For your comfort and convenience there is complimentary premium Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, a business center, and a lost and found service.

Rooms include Wi-Fi, a coffee-maker, a hairdryer, a refrigerator, an iHome alarm clock alarm and floor to ceiling windows with views overlooking the San Francisco Bay or cityscapes. Check-in time is 4 p.m. and check-out time is 12 p.m.

DINING

In the Hyatt Regency lobby is the Embarcadero restaurant, which serves fresh, local California cuisine in a fun atmosphere. You can start off your day with breakfast at the Eclipse Kitchen & Bar, which is open for breakfast at 6 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The restaurant serves food and drinks all day until 11 p.m. and offers a happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. The Eclipse Bar is a vibrant destination with a sophisticated ambiance to wind down after a day at FFRF’s lively convention. Open until midnight, the bar offers signature martinis and artisan cocktails.

If you’re on the go you can stop by The Market, which offers fresh, healthy items served in conveniently transportable packages. The Market is open daily from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. Guests can have any of the menu items offered by The Market delivered to their guest room for $5.

NEARBY DINING

Across the street from the hotel is Embarcadero Center Dining. Famous eateries at the center include Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Cafes, Osha Thai, Kara's Cupcakes, Buckhorn Grill and Crystal Jade. The Ferry Building Marketplace is located on the foot of Market Street with shops offering a wide variety of foods including artisan cheeses and fresh local fish. PIER 39 includes popular seafood restaurants and food stands.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Hyatt Regency San Francisco offers easy access to many San Francisco attractions. You can enjoy shopping at Union Square and Embarcadero Center, explore the museums and attractions in Golden Gate Park, check out the city’s top landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz. 

 

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Menu

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Menu

Discounted Registration & Meals Package

Register for a package and save $20!
$190 for members 
$195 for non-members accompanying a member 
$240 for non-members 
$130 for students

Includes all of the following:

Friday Afternoon Reception
Light refreshments, hot beverages and cash bar.

Friday Evening Dessert Reception
Delicious cake, hot beverages and cash bar. 

Saturday Nonprayer Breakfast
Breakfast includes chef’s bakery selection, freshly scrambled eggs, locally cured Hobb’s bacon, breakfast potatoes, chilled juice and coffee.
(Chef’s choice vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are also offered.)

Saturday Dinner
Potage Parmentier (potato leek soup), Crispy Shallots, Chive Crème Fraiche; Champagne Brown Butter Chicken, Tarragon Mushroom Fond, Cipollini Onion and Comte Risotto; Steamed Broccolini; French Pear Tart, Frangipane, Vanilla Cream. Cash bar.
(Chef’s choice vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are also offered.)

A la Carte Registration & Meals Fees:
If you want only 1 meal or none, register a la carte.

A la carte registration fees:

$60 for members
$65 for non-members accompanying a member 
$110 non-members
$0 students

A la carte meal fees:

$60 - Saturday Nonprayer Breakfast
$90 - Saturday Dinner
Friday receptions are complimentary.

Register now!

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Speakers

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Speakers

ENSAF HAIDER1EnsafHaidar

Ensaf Haidar was born in 1975 in Jizan, Saudi Arabia. Against the will of her family she married Raif Badawi in 2002. Raif, initially arrested on charges of apostasy, which carries an automatic death sentence, was convicted in July 2013 for founding an internet forum that “violates Islamic values and propagates liberal thought,” and sentenced to 600 leashes and seven years in prison, then resentenced in May 2014 to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison, with a major fine added. His attorney was then sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Ensaf and their three children escaped from Saudi Arabia and were finally granted asylum in Canada. In January 2015, Raif was flogged 50 times before hundreds of spectators, creating an international outcry. Ensaf has been desperately fighting to free her husband and raise awareness of Raif’s story across the world. She is the president and Cofounder of the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom (RBFF).

Ensaf will receive the 2018 Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award of $10,000. 

SARAH HAIDER1Haider

Sarah Haider is an American writer, speaker and activist. Born in Pakistan and raised in Texas, Sarah spent her early youth as a practicing Muslim. She left her faith in her late teens, and later co-founded Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA), which advocates for the acceptance of religious dissent and works to create local support communities for those who have left Islam. In addition to atheism, Sarah is passionate about civil liberties and women’s rights. She has spoken at numerous conferences and events and has appeared on a range of television programs, radio shows and podcasts.

Sarah directs EXMNA’s Life Beyond Faith mini-documentaries, a series of video portraits of ex-Muslim atheists and humanists. Sarah is also heading EXMNA’s Normalizing Dissent tour, and travels the United States and Canada to cover a range of issues related to apostasy in Islam. Her work with the Normalizing Dissent tour has been covered by the BBC, Slate and Quillette Magazine. She is currently a columnist for Free Inquiry magazine.

Sarah will be receiving FFRF’s “Freethought Heroine” Award.

 

BAILEY HARRIS

1BaileyPhotoBailey Harris is a 12-year-old author is on a mission to inspire a love of science and a sense of wonder about the universe with her Stardust series of books for young readers, which she co-wrote with her father, Douglas. The first book in the series, My Name Is Stardust, was released in 2017 and has sold thousands of copies worldwide enabling Bailey and Douglas to help spread their passion for science to families across the globe.

Bailey was inspired to write the book after watching a TV episode of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” in which the host Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “The planets, the stars, the galaxies, we ourselves and all of life — the same star stuff.” Bailey and Douglas developed a story to teach children this concept, along with other areas of science such as evolution and astronomy. The two have been interviewed for iHeartRadio’s The Public Library Podcast about science, education and literature. Douglas was also a featured expert panel speaker on Science and Education at BookCon 2017. The second book in the series, Stardust Explores the Solar System, which will be published this year, explains how our solar system came to be starting with the Big Bang.

Bailey will be receiving FFRF’s Beverly and Richard Herman Student Activist Award of $5,000.

 

JARED HUFFMAN1Jared Huffman

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., one of the founders of the recently announced Congressional Freethought Caucus, has agreed to speak at FFRF's confension in San Francisco in early November. Huffman will be accepting FFRF's Emperor Has No Clothes Award, which is given to public figures who take on the fabled role of the little child in the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale and "tell it like it is" about religion. 

 

JOHN DE LANCIE 1deLancie

Actor, director and producer John de Lancie is perhaps best known for portraying “Q” in the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

His many film credits include: “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle,” “The Fisher King,” “The Onion Field,” “Taking Care of Business,” “Fearless,” “Multiplicity,” "Women on Top," “The Big Time,” “Reign on Me” and “Pathology.” John has appeared in numerous television shows including “The Librarians,” “Torchwood,” “Breaking Bad,” “West Wing," “Star Trek” and “Legend.” He has been a member of The American Shakespeare Company, The Seattle Repertory Company, The South Coast Repertory, The Mark Taper Forum and the Old Globe. In the world of music, John has performed with most of the major symphony orchestras in America, Canada and Australia. He was the host of the L.A. Philharmonic "Symphonies for Youth" as well as writer/director of "First Nights", a concert series at Disney Hall. John was co-owner, with Leonard Nimoy, of Alien Voices; a production company devoted to the dramatization of classic Sci-Fi. John has directed a number of operas as well as produced the Netflix documentary on the wonderful phenomenon of Bronies.

 

1LeighannLordLEIGHANN LORD

As a veteran stand-up comedian, Leighann will do a standup comedy routine. She has been seen on Lifetime, VH-1, Comedy Central, HBO, and The View. Leighann is a contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of Leighann Lord’s Dict Jokes: Alternate Definitions for Words You’ve Probably Never Heard of But Will Definitely Never Forget (2014) and Real Women Do It Standing Up: Stories From the Career of a Very Funny Lady (2016).

Leighann was New York City’s face of the “African Americans for Humanism” outreach campaign sponsored by the Center for Inquiry and its “Millions Living Happily Without Religion” campaign. Leighann was featured in author Chris Johnson’s The Atheist Book: A Better Life. She has been a co-host on the Emmy-nominated StarTalk with Neil de Grasse Tyson. Leighann is also a CFI certified Secular Celebrant, officiating at milestone life events commemorated with a nonreligious worldview.

 

DEBRA OLSON1DebraOlson 

Debra Olson, with Dr. Craig West Wilkinson, just authored a book about her atheist grandfather, The Honorable Culbert Levy Olson: Governor of California 1939-1943. She is a political, environmental and peace activist and held volunteer positions on both of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns. She was a national senior advisor and a fundraising consultant for the Kucinich for President campaign in 2003. She is the Founder of Peace Solutions.

For the past ten years, Debra has served on the board of trustees for the Coalition for Engaged Education in Santa Monica. Debra has worked for several organizations to help underprivileged youth and women. She remains dedicated to expanding the educational and social justice movement spearheaded by Paul Cummins and The Herb Alpert Educational Village. Debra has been a member of the Clinton Global Initiative since 2006 and has served as a member of the Business Council of Women for Hillary Clinton during the Presidential Primary 2008. Debra also helped organize the Youth Summit in Kenya, 2006 and presented a speech, “Common Sense Solutions” for a sustainable and positive future in Baku, Azerbaijan during the Youth Summit in 2008.

 

CECILE RICHARDS1CR Headshot

Cecile Richards is a national leader for women’s rights and social and economic justice, and the author of New York Times bestseller Make Trouble. As President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund for more than a decade, Richards has worked to increase affordable access to reproductive health care and to build a healthier and safer world for women and young people. After starting her career as a labor organizer, working with women earning the minimum wage, she went on to start her own grassroots organizations, and later served as Deputy Chief of Staff to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In 2011 and 2012, she was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Richards is a frequent speaker and commentator on politics and progressive issues. She and her husband, Kirk Adams, have three children and live in New York City and Maine.

She will be receiving FFRF’s new “Forward” Award, recognizing individuals who are moving society Forward, “A Conversation with Cecile Richards” will take place at 4 p.m., Sat. Nov. 3, followed by a Q&A and a book signing for Make Trouble.

 

SALMAN RUSHDIE1Salman Rushdie credit Beowulf Sheehan

Salman Rushdie is one of the most celebrated authors of our time. He has written several classic novels, influenced a generation of writers, and received the Queen’s Knighthood for his “services to literature.” He is also one of the most thought-provoking proponents for free speech.

His novels include The Satanic Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and 2008’s The Enchantress of Florence. His masterwork of magic realism, Midnight’s Children, won the presitigious Booker Prize, and later, the Best of the Booker. He is also the author of bestselling memoir Joseph Anton. Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life is a children’s novel and a companion to Haroun and the Sea of Stories. His latest novels are Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, which was a New York Times besteller, and most recently The Golden House, a novel that “depicts Obama’s and Trump’s U.S.”

Rushdie will be receiving FFRF's Emperor Has No Clothes Award. He will speak Friday, Nov. 2 at 3:30 p.m., followed by a book signing. 

 

ADAM SAVAGE

1AdamHeadshot

Adam Savage has spent his life gathering skills that allow him to take what's in his brain and make it real. He's built everything from ancient Buddhas and futuristic weapons to fine-artsculptures and dancing vegetables. In 1993, Adam began concentrating his career on the special-effects industry, honing his skills through more than 100 television commercials and a dozen feature films, including Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Galaxy Quest and the Matrix sequels. In 2002, Adam was chosen along with Jamie Hyneman to host MythBusters, which premiered on Discovery Channel in January 2003. Fourteen years, 1,015 myths, 2,950 experiments, eight Emmy nominations and 83 miles of duct tape later, the series ended in March 2016.

Today, Adam stars in and produces content for Tested.com, including behind-the-scenes dives into multiple blockbuster films (including Ghost in the Shell, Alien Covenant and Blade Runner). He also produces and stars in his Brain Candy stage show with Vsauce's Michael Stevens. 

He will be receiving FFRF's Emperor Has No Clothes Award, reserved for public figures who tell it like it is about religion.

 

JULIA SWEENEY

Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney, one of FFRF’s honorary directors, will perform a new stand-up routine called “Julia Sweeney:Older and Wider” for the FFRF audience.

She is joining Second City in Chicago in May.

She is a “Saturday Night Live” alum who created and portrayed the androgynous character “Pat,” which spun off the feature film “It’s Pat.”

She also created and performed several award-winning one-woman shows, including “God Said, Ha!”, “In the Family Way” and “Letting Go of God,” which was about her journey from Roman Catholic schoolgirl to atheist. She has also been in several movies, including “Pulp Fiction.” She has previously received FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award.

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Join the Freedom From Religion Foundation in the city on the bay for its 41st annual convention!

FFRF's annual national convention will meet in San Francisco the weekend of Nov. 2-4 at the Hyatt Regency, 5 Embarcadero Center, just two blocks from the bay. 

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS

Cecile Richards is a national leader for women’s rights and social and economic justice, and the author of New York Times bestseller Make Trouble. As President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund for more than a decade, Richards has worked to increase affordable access to reproductive health care and to build a healthier and safer world for women and young people. After starting her career as a labor organizer, working with women earning the minimum wage, she went on to start her own grassroots organizations, and later served as Deputy Chief of Staff to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In 2011 and 2012, she was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Salman Rushdie is one of the most celebrated authors of our time. He has written several classic novels, influenced a generation of writers, and received the Queen’s Knighthood for his “services to literature.” He is also one of the most thought-provoking proponents for free speech. His novels include The Satanic VersesThe Moor’s Last SighThe Ground Beneath Her Feet and 2008’s The Enchantress of Florence. His masterwork of magic realism, Midnight’s Children, won the presitigious Booker Prize, and later, the Best of the Booker. He is also the author of bestselling memoir Joseph Anton. Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life is a children’s novel and a companion to Haroun and the Sea of Stories. His latest novels are Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, which was a New York Times besteller, and most recently The Golden House, a novel that “depicts Obama’s and Trump’s U.S.” 

Adam Savage is co-host of "Myth Busters," on the Discovery Channel and is master of many trades. Savage has acted, designed, sculpted, anchored TV shows, and has been an educator. Savage's special effects have been on view in a dozen feature films, including the "Matrix" sequels and "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace."

John de Lancie, an actor, director, producer, writer, singer, musician, and voice artist, will be receiving FFRF's first "Clarence" award — a statuette version of FFRF's 7-foot statue of Clarence Darrow on display in front of the site of the Scopes trial, in Dayton, Tenn. De Lancie spoke at the dedication. Well-known for portraying "Q" in the TV series "Star Trek: The Next Generation," he has many film credits, including: "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle," "The Fisher King," "Fearless," "Multiplicity," "Women on Top" and "The Big Time." De Lancie has appeared in numberous television shows including "The Librarians," "Breaking Bad" and "The West Wing."

Sarah Haider is a co-founder of Ex-Muslims of North America. Born in Pakistan and raised in Texas, she spent her early youth as a practicing Muslim. Haider directs EXMNA's Normalizing Dissent tour, and travels the United States and Canada to cover a range of issues related to apostastacy in Islam. She is currently a columnist for Free Inquiry magazine. In addition to atheism, Sarah is particularly passionate about civil liberties ad women's rights. She will receive a Freethought Heroine Award.

Ensaf Haidar is the wife of persecuted Saudie freethinker and blogger Raif Badawi. Haidar has become a secular activist in her own right, establishing the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom to spread progressive values in the Middle East and working tirelessly for Badawi's release. She will be receiving the second annual Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award of $10,000.

Bailey Harris, 12, a sixth-grade student at Salt Lake City's Open Classroom, will be receiving the $5,000 Beverly and Richard Hermsen Student Activist Award. When Bailey was 8, she was watching the episode of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" in which host Neil deGrasse Tyson said, "The planets, the stars, the galaxies, we ourselves and all of life - the same star stuff." Inspired, she immediately went up to her family's computer and started writing what would eventually become the beautiful picture book, My Name is Stardust. Her father, Doug Harris, gets a co-credit on the book. 

Julia Sweeney, one of FFRF’s honorary directors, will perform a new stand-up routine called “Julia Sweeney:Older and Wider” for the FFRF audience. She is a “Saturday Night Live” alum who created and portrayed the androgynous character “Pat,” which spun off the feature film “It’s Pat.” She also created and performed several award-winning one-woman shows, including “God Said, Ha!”, “In the Family Way” and “Letting Go of God,” which was about her journey from Roman Catholic schoolgirl to atheist. She has also been in several movies, including “Pulp Fiction.”

Leighann Lord, a veteran stand-up comedian, who will do stand-up routine at the convention. Lord has been seen on Lifetime, VH-1, Comedy Central, HBO and "The View." She is a contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of Dict Jokes: Altrnate Definitions for Words You've Probably Never Heard of But Will Definitely Never Forget and Real Women Do It Standing Up: Stories From the Career of a Veery Funny Lady. Lord was the New York City face of the African-Americans for Humanism outreach campaign sponsored by the Center for Inquiry and its Millions Living Happily Without Religion Campaign. Author Chris Johnson has featured her in The Atheist Book: A Better Life

Debra Deanne Olson, who, with Dr. Craig West Wilkinson, just authored a book about her atheist grandfather, The Honorable Culbert Levy Olson: Governor of California 1939-1943. She is a political, environmental and peace activist and held volunteer positions on both of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaigns. She was a national senior advisor and a fundraising consultant for the Kucinich for President campaign in 2003. She is founder of Peace Solutions. 

REGISTRATION

FFRF registration, always a deal, is only $60 per member, $65 per companion, and students and children free. Take advantage of FFRF's meal and registration package on the form below to save $20 (and get a chance to socialize with other members). Friday night dinner and Saturday lunch are on your own. The menus for the two Saturday meals (with veggie, vegan and gluten-free options) are: Breakfast — Chef's bakery selection, scrambled eggs, Hobb's bacon, breakfast potatoes, juice and coffee.
Dinner — Potage Parmentier (potato leek soup), crispy shallots, chive creme frainche, Champagne brown butter chicken, tarragon mushroom fond, Cipollini onion and Comte risotto, steamed broccolini, French pear tart, frangipane and vanilla cream.

Register here.

HOTEL INFORMATION

Reserve rooms now to avoid disappointment! Rooms (at $235) are being held for Friday and Saturday nights, and a slightly more limited number for Thursday early-birds. Call to make your reservations: toll free 1-888-421-1442 and use the code "Freedom From Religion Foundation." 

GENERAL SCHEDULE

Arrange your travel schedule for the convention's expanded hours and to take in a little sightseeing as well. The official starting time is 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, continuing through Saturday night. FFRF's membership and state representative meetings take place Sunday morning with a noon adjournment. The convention will include irreverent music, complimentary appetizers on Friday afternoon and a complimentary Friday night dessert reception, plus the popular drawing for "clean" (pre- "In God We Trust") currency on Saturday night.

1sanfranscico

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Schedule

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Schedule

Download the schedule here! 

Note: Schedule is subject to change.

Friday, September 15

Pre-convention events

Morning Open House

9:30 AM to Noon - Open House, Freethought Hall in Downtown Madison

(Complimentary, but reservations required!)

Early registration opens 
Pastries, juice, hot beverages, Champagne, OJ, Mimosas. 

10:45 AM - 1:00 PM - Betty Lou Lake Cruise (Sold out!)

Boats dock on Monona Bay and Tenney Locks. FFRF will provide bus transportation: Pick up at FFRF at 10:15 and Hilton at 10:30; return from docks to Hilton after cruise. Participants will receive separate instructions. 

Afternoon Formal Opening  

Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center 
Madison Ballroom

2:00 PM - Registration re-opens, continues throughout convention  

Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Dr. 
Sales tables open in the Madison Ballroom

3:00 PM - Short Welcome 

    Kelly Helton, student activist 

3:15 PM - Freethought Heroine Award, Cara Santa Maria, "She Atheist"

4:00 PM Forward Award,  Katha Pollitt 
                
Booksigning for Pollitt follows

5:00 PM - 6:45 PM - DINNER, "Forward" Tailgate Dinner (Ticketed) Rooftop Gardens, Monona Terrace 
               
Forward Marching Band performance    

Evening Program 

Madison Ballroom

7:00 PM Evening Welcome, Music 
                FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker & Annie Laurie Gaylor
                Year in Review

7:30 - Henry H. Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award
 
         Maryam Namazie 

8:30 - Paula Poundstone 

9:30 Poundstone Meet and Greet

          Complimentary gourmet cupcakes and hot beverages - Grand Terrace

Saturday, September 16

All Saturday events held in Madison Ballroom, unless otherwise noted.

8:00 AM - Nonprayer Breakfast (optional for ticket holders) - Exhibit Hall A
                Nothing Fails Like Prayer Awardee

9:00 AM - Madison Ballroom, sales tables re-open

9:30 AM Welcome, Lisa Strand
                 Music, Dan Barker

9:40 AM “The Evolution of the Clarence Darrow Sculpture” by Zenos Frudakis

10:00 AM Battle of Church & State: Legal Accomplishments
                  FFRF Legal Staff

11:15 AM Freethinkers of the Year 
                  Jesse Castillo, Jerry Bloom, Marie Schaub 

Noon - 2:00 PM LUNCH BREAK
                           Optional Grab & Go Lunch, sightseeing

2:00 PM - Kimberly Veal
               
"Metamorphosis"

2:30 PM Brent Michael Davids
                
"Do you know an American Indian atheist?" 

3:00 PM - Michelle Goldberg
                
"Donald Trump and Christian Nationalism" 

4:00 PM - Steven Pinker, FFRF Honorary President
                
Booksigning for Goldberg & Pinker follows   

6:30 PM SATURDAY NIGHT DINNER (Ticketed) - Exhibit Hall A

Evening program in Madison Ballroom

8:00 PM "Clean Money Drawing"

8:30 PM - MusicRoy Zimmerman

9:00 PM - Julia Sweeney

               Book, DVD and CD signings for Sweeney & Zimmerman to follow

Sunday, September 17

Annual Membership Meeting

Hall of Ideas FG

8:30 AM - Complimentary pastries and hot beverages

9:00 AM Annual Membership Meeting
                Open to current FFRF members

                Annual State Representatives Meeting
                
Adjourn by Noon

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Madison Guide

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Madison Guide

So, you find yourself in Madison ... what do you do next?
The answer is simple: everything!

Download the map here

DOWNTOWN

Enjoy our tangle of one-way roads and triangle intersections as you make your way around the downtown isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. Take in the lake view from Monona Terrace convention center's rooftop terrace. Did you know that Otis Redding (singer of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay") died in a tragic plane crash on Lake Monona? Now you do!

Wisconsin State Capitol — Celebrate the centennial of our beautiful beaux arts Capitol building. It's open to the public but guided tours offered many times a day are free and worth the time. The sixth-floor museum and observation deck are also open during summer months.

UW Memorial Union — Not just for students and alumni, the Memorial Union is a Madison staple! Visit Der Rathskeller (or Der Rath as it is affectionately called), a German beer hall-style watering hole for students, staff and community members. After you've filled your stein (plastic cup, actually) head out to the Terrace at Memorial Union, pull up one of the iconic chairs and soak up the sun or take in the entertainment. Enjoy food and beverages from diverse vendors. DO NOT pass up the ice cream from Babcock Hall Dairy, made right here at the university with extra generous "single dip" helping. Warning — it is not vegan. Stay late for Terrace After Dark music and films, or take advantage of the many events and activities! Don't miss Isthmus Jazz Fest on the Terrace June 16-17.

State Street — It's only two blocks from Freethought Hall! Go there for lunch, breakfast, dinner, drinks, eclectic shops and the very best people watching around.

Here are some other FFRF staff favorites:

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Overture Center — Don't miss the "dome illusion," especially at night! While you're there you can nosh on delicious treats at Fresco, the rooftop restaurant overlooking all of State Street and the MMoCA's sculpture garden. (Pro tip: It's part of the Food Fight Restaurant Group, so ask your loved ones for Food Fight gift cards that you can redeem at one of its 20 local bars and eateries).

Fromagination on the Square — Try the turkey sandwich with apple and cheese. A bit pricey but fresh, ready-made sandwiches.

Candinas on the Square — A great place if you're looking for a local gift to take home to Mom or Dad. (We think the caramel and the hazelnut are best.)

A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore — Notable for good reads and special orders. 315 W. Gorham Street off State Street.

EAST SIDE

Olbrich Botanical Gardens — Not to be missed! It's free to walk around or read in the beautiful outdoor gardens. Stroll through the tropics in the Bolz Conservatory, filled with tropical plants, flowers, orchids, birds, and a waterfall that feeds into a koi pond. $2 admission for the conservatory, but it's free to all on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

ACTIVE FUN

Bikes that are an improvement over Madison's BCycle bike share stations can be rented from Machinery Row Bicycles, a short walk from the Capitol at the top of Williamson Street. It's located on the 12-mile bike path loop that goes around Lake Monona (and is also accessible via the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center), which is a lovely ride (or run, for the more ambitious). There is another bike path that runs along Lake Mendota, starting at the Memorial Union, called the Howard Temin Lakeshore Path. It's shorter, but provides access to Picnic Point, which is a nice walking path with a lake view. Bikes and motorized vehicles are prohibited, but the view is spectacular. The UW Arboretum is a nice 6-mile loop for running or biking. 

UNIQUE DINING

Ella's Deli and Ice Cream Parlor, 2902 East Washington Ave., is a memorable spectacle and has been voted Best Deli in Madison 20 years in a row! Try the famous Reuben sandwich, and save room for one of their signature desserts! Don't forget to take a ride on the Original Parker Carousel built in 1927!

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Transportation

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Transportation

Union Cab - 608-242-2000
taxis can be scheduled by phone or on-line

Badger Cab - 608-256-5566 - Zone pricing
608-256-0106 - Direct pricing

Green Cab - 608-255-1234
taxis can be scheduled by phone or on-line

Madison Taxi - 608-255-8294
taxis can be scheduled by phone or on-line

Rideshare Services:

Uber - rideshare is a available

Lyft - rideshare is available

Alternative Transportation:

Madison Metro Bus Service - There is a convenient trip planner on their website that generates step by step bus travel routes.

Madison Bcycle - Rental bicycles available at many locations around town

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Registration

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Registration

Online registration form coming soon.

Print out a downloadable form to return in the mail here.

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