Past Events‎ > ‎

FFRF annual Conference

posted Sep 17, 2017, 7:54 AM by Ray Valenti

Join us for an unbelievably good time


Please note that tickets for meal functions cannot be purchased onsite, but you may attend programs with onsite registration. See the Schedule for registration times. 



The Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to be hosting its 40th annual national convention in Madison, Wisconsin, this year! The event will include speeches and entertainment by illustrious personalities, a tour of FFRF's Freethought Hall headquarters, and a two-hour leisurely boat cruise around Lakes Monona or Mendota. 

The convention takes place the weekend of September 15-17, primarily at the lakeside Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wis. You can sign up now.

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.

Relax and enjoy a breathtaking new view of Madison on an optional boat cruise on the city's Lake Monona or Lake Mendota starting at 10:45 a.m. on Friday. You'll be out on the water for two hours, returning to shore at 1 p.m. Passengers on the cruise will be served a buffet-style lunch. Although the boarding area for the cruise is within walking distance, a shuttle bus will be offered. Learn more.Sorry, sold out. 

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. 

We're thrilled to announce a distinguished list of speakers and entertainers! Engaging talks will be given by FFRF honorary president and Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, writer Katha Pollitt, author and columnist Michelle Goldberg, human rights activist Maryam Namazie, science educator Cara Santa Maria, social justice activist Kimberly Veal, composer Brent Michael Davids and renowned sculptor Zenos Frudakis. A roster of victorious state / church plaintiffs will be recognized, including 2017 Freethinker of the Year Marie Schaub. Additionally, 12-year-old Kelly Helton will give a short talk about her activism. FFRF's legal team will present its traditional legal accomplishments panel, reporting a behind-the-scenes take on FFRF's 2017 legal work. Read more about speakers and honorees here

Famed comedian Paula Poundstone will stage a stand up routine that you won't want to miss, and satirical singer-songwriter Roy Zimmerman will perform a repertoire irreverent songs as will FFRF Co-President Dan Barker at the piano with his own collection. Julia Sweeney, actress and comedian, will close out the night with her trademark humor.  

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.



Following the 9:30-noon Open House at Freethought Hall, convention registration opens at 2 p.m. on Friday at Monona Terrace, with refreshments and opening talks you won't want to miss between 3-5 p.m. For Friday dinner, sign up for the optional FFRF Tailgate Party, serving up Wisconsin tailgate favorites from 5-6:45 p.m. on the Rooftop Garden. (If the weather is bad, meet us at the Grand Terrace instead). 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-lunch), 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.

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