FreedomFest 2021 Rapid City, SD

Jul 28, 2021 | Events

by Leigh Bortins

As an educational entrepreneur, it is difficult to find allies who believe in free market alternatives to government schools. Even libertarian and conservative think tanks often offer educational policies that keep families dependent on government funding and institutions by offering innovative schemes under the guise of school choice. I was so happy to find so many educational innovators that offer truly free market educational opportunities at FreedomFest. I knew they were out there even if they don’t get keynote speaker opportunities or time on FoxNews. Thanks freedom educators for persevering! And thank you FreedomFest for including their voices on panels and promotional events.

I really appreciated the bank of media organizations giving all of us the opportunity to be interviewed and heard beyond the festival. I enjoyed meeting the journalists who are truly investigative reporters as well as amplifiers of different viewpoints. The truth does set one free and so many of the interviewers asked questions the mainstream media doesn’t even think of. Thanks freedom media for thinking from all sides.

The FreedomFest exhibition hall was fantastic. Our booth had a steady stream of enquiries from new friends as well as providing a meeting place for old friends. Our staff was pleased to hear so many new ideas, meet owners of start-ups, and put faces to names of vendors we have known of for years. Though I was not seeking an investor, the non-profit leaders I spoke with were really pleased at the number of investors looking for freedom organizations to support. And of course, I invested in metals from new friends with innovative new products. The delicious array of foods at the reception, breakfast and snack time provided by FreedomFest kept my staff happy and working at the booth during the busiest times. The terrific speakers and panels were obviously well attended as the exhibition hall would quiet and give my staff time for breaks, shopping other booths, networking with like-minded partners, and learning from other organizations about things unfamiliar.

The speakers and panels offered topics for everyone and everything. All of the speakers were passionate about their people, products and ideas. I was able to meet a hero of mine since I was 18, George Gilder. He seemed to enjoy my enthusiasm for a picture and a handshake. I was encouraged by his continued passion for time as a measurement of money. As an engineer by training, I love discussing the use of tools outside of a paradigm to provide unbiased measures. Why would anyone think measuring money by other money was a good idea? I will continue to follow Mr. Gilder and his colleague Mr. Pooley as they write and speak on truly free ways to think of money.

The Monument conference center provided ample space for parking, exhibit halls, seating in auditoriums, and finding quiet nooks to deepen friendships. Its location was convenient to hotels, restaurants, and attractions. The beauty of the mountains and grasslands was reflected in the kindness of the Rapid City residents and the festival’s devotion to the ideas of freedom. I was grateful to visit the Crazy Horse Monument and learn of the founder’s understanding that with the shekels come the shackles. Twice Korczak Ziolkoski turned down $10 million dollars from the government to help build the sculpture honoring natives of all cultures. Hats off to Korczak and his understanding of limited government.

I pray that more think tanks and conferences will embrace the ideals of FreedomFest as I encourage communities and organizations to reject government funding which is always government control. Be free indeed!