On Sunday, July 21, 2013 we held our 5th Annual Mid Ohio Regional Atheist Picnic. We gathered at Mohican State Park at the North Park Shelter. This location was not only secluded, but beautiful and scenic. We had fantastic weather, no rain and sunshine all day long. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend with our friends from all over Ohio.
Officially, we had 59 attendees for this year’s event. We had guests visit locally from Mansfield, Ashland, the Columbus area, Kent, Toledo, Oberlin, Marion, and the Cleveland area. We were so happy to be able to spend the day with everyone and have great conversations, gather donations for our charity drive, and enjoy meeting our line up of speakers. Thank you all for traveling to meet with us again this year! .
Our charity drive was extremely successful this year. We had a contest based on who could donate the most toilet paper, paper towels, or trash bags to our local homeless shelter, Harmony House. These are items they often run low on and people don’t think to donate to them. We estimate we gathered over $500 in products for Harmony House! First prize was donated by Barb William’s group, Great Lakes Atheists, from Toledo. It was one Free admission to their upcoming convention August 16th through 18th. Second prize included Jerry DeWitt’s new book, “Hope Beyond Faith”, a Mid Ohio Atheist t-shirt, pens, buttons, and other items to show our appreciation. This is just one example of how important being involved with local charity is for our community. Little by little ,we are showing people that Atheists are compassionate and care about local issues and global issues. We want make the world a better place for everyone.
This year’s other highlight was our line up of speakers. We were very proud that they wanted to spend their afternoon with us and speak on some great topics for the crowd. Speakers began at 2:00 pm. We welcomed Dan Demura from the Columbus area. Dan is a former pastor, he is part of the Clergy Project, group facilitator for the Columbus Chapter of Recovering from Religion, and is currently working on a book called “Discussions of Doubt” which also has a Facebook page. Dan spoke about “Life Beyond Faith”. We then heard from Rachel Johnson, student at Kent State University, blogger (Godless Vagina), podcaster (The Pink Atheist), and writer for a the new Atheist magazine, The Celestial Teapot. She spoke on the very important topic of “Atheist Activism”. Douglas Whaley was up next with a wonderful speech about “What atheism can learn from the LGBT movement”, Doug is a long time LGBT activist, OSU professor emeritus, lawyer, and author of “Imaginary Friend”.
Finally, the director for American Atheist Press, Frank Zindler spoke about “Why only atheists can save the world.” Everyone had such great insights to share with us all and everyone enjoyed hearing from them. We found our speakers inspiring and one of the biggest takeaways from each speech was “Speak up!” Speak out for our cause, let people know who atheists really are, and that we are NOT going away. We are changing the world everyday, one cause at a time. Be brave and be who you are!
In closing, we would like to thank everyone who helped plan the event this year. We had such enthusiasm about the picnic. Everyone who attended planning meetings, set up, tore down, and everything in between, you made this a successful, fun, and entertaining event. I know personally I’m already looking forward to next year and I’m planning it in my head! We hope that this event continues to grow and we get our name out there. We aren’t going anywhere and the best of Mid Ohio Atheists and their friends is yet to come.
~ Marisa Hills, MOA Event Coordinator