Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference kicks off Friday |

Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference kicks off Friday

Teresa Ristow
Former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore talks about national privacy issues during 2014's Freedom Conference. The conference returns Friday and Saturday at the The Steamboat Grand.

If you go:

What: Seventh annual Steamboat Institute Freedom Conference

When: Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29

Where: The Steamboat Grand (sold out) and “Freedom Festival Tent” at Torian Plum Plaza (Tickets $50)

— The Steamboat Institute’s Seventh annual Freedom Conference returns Friday and Saturday.

The conference will feature Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, radio and television personality Laura Ingraham and a handful of authors, social activists and leaders as conference speakers.

If you go:

What: Seventh annual Steamboat Institute Freedom Conference

When: Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29

Where: The Steamboat Grand (sold out) and “Freedom Festival Tent” at Torian Plum Plaza (Tickets $50)

Author, political editor for and Fox News contributor Guy Benson said Wednesday he was looking forward to taking part in two events during the conference — the first, a panel discussion on millennials titled “Reclaiming the American Dream: Millennials Look Toward Their Future” on Saturday morning.

“This will be on millenials and their voting patterns and the way our generation speaks about issues and then grappling with that from a conservative perspective,” said Benson, 30.

Later Saturday, Benson and co-author Mary Katharine Ham will discuss their book, “End of Discussion,” released this June.

“It’s about how the left in particular, but not exclusively, increasingly try to win political and cultural debates by preventing those debates from actually happening,” Benson said.

A book signing will follow the discussion.

While tickets to watch the speakers up close at The Steamboat Grand and the Thunderhead Lodge have long since sold out, organizers have created a “Freedom Festival Tent” option for those still interested in attending.

For $50, attendees can watch the speakers from an outdoor tent in Torian Plum Plaza via two 70-inch monitors.

The conference kicks off Friday morning with two bonus speakers inside the Torian Plum tent — Principals of Liberty Executive Director Rich Bratton and filmmaker Craig Lindvahl, of the Midland Institute’s CEO program.

The festival tent ticket includes lunch both days, and many conference speakers are expected to stop by, according to Jennifer Schubert-Akin, chairman and CEO of the Steamboat Institute.

“This still gives people an opportunity to be involved in the event,” Schubert-Akin said. “Many of the speakers will be visiting the tent either before or after they speak, so people can still get to meet them.”

This is the second consecutive year the Freedom Conference will host Carson, a former neurosurgeon who is now running for president. He is slated to speak at a luncheon beginning at 11:45 a.m. Friday.

“Dr. Carson’s speech last year was very well-received; you could have heard a pin drop in the room up at Thunderhead when he was speaking,” Schubert-Akin said. “He was a very good speaker.”

Guests in the Freedom Festival Tent will have an opportunity to participate in question-and-answer sessions during the event by Tweeting their questions using #SteamboatFreedom.

For those unable to make it to the conference or hoping to re-watch some of the speakers, CSPAN plans to video the events and re-run the telecasts in upcoming weeks.

For more information, visit

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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