Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference returns Friday |

Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference returns Friday

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson meets with Freedom Conference attendees on Friday in Steamboat Springs.
Scott Franz

If you go:

What: 8th annual Freedom Conference and Festival

When: Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 27

Where: The Steamboat Grand, 2300 Mount Werner Circle


— The Steamboat Institute’s annual Freedom Conference and Festival returns Friday and Saturday, featuring an impressive list of guest speakers and panelists.

Former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is the event’s keynote speaker Friday night, and she’s expected to give an inspiring address that looks beyond her recent campaign.

“I think her speech on Friday night will be very inspiring and forward looking,” said Jennifer Schubert-Akin, co-founder and CEO of the Steamboat Institute.

Schubert-Akin said she is fond of Fiorina’s advocacy for giving everyone equal opportunities to succeed.

“She is a strong advocate of giving people the opportunity to be the best they can be, and that really resonates with me,” Schubert-Akin said. “She’s really an outspoken advocate for small businesses and a supporter of entrepreneurs.”

As of Wednesday afternoon only a few tickets remained for the conference, which includes Fiorina’s address and access to several speakers and panel discussions at The Steamboat Grand during the two-day event.

Many tickets were still available for the Freedom Conference Festival Tent, where additional speeches will happen and attendees will have the chance to mingle with many of the conference speakers.

Tickets for the full conference start at $325 per person, but a Festival Tent ticket is $50, offering a more affordable way to take part in the event.

Events in the Festival Tent kick off at 9 a.m. Friday with a “First Principles” seminar with Dr. Matt Spalding, associate vice president and dean of educational programs at Hillsdale College.

Opening remarks for the conference begin at 11:45 a.m. Friday, followed by first conference speaker Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, whose presentation is titled “The American Idea after 2017.”

Sasse, along with many presenters, will head to the Festival Tent after his talk to give a shorter address and speak with attendees.

“What an amazing opportunity for our attendees to meet Sen. Sasse in the Festival Tent for a casual visit,” Schubert-Akin said.

Another festival highlight is a panel discussion Saturday on free speech on college campuses, which includes University of Colorado Student Government President Marcus Forenos, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk and Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Everett Piper.

Kirk will also conduct a student activism seminar in the festival tent.

The festival closes Saturday evening with a free Mud Puppy concert in Gondola Square, which is open to the public.

Tickets for the Festival Tent and any remaining conference tickets, as well as a full schedule of events is available at

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

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