It's a big weekend for the Tea Party, as members are convening in Schaumburg, Illinois, for a major political convention. The event, called TeaCon 2011, is intended to mobilize small government enthusiasts just in time for the 2012 presidential campaign.
Update: Scroll for Glenn Beck's speech
The Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel is hosting the influential gathering, which was organized by WIND 560AM, a local talk ratio station. The political festivities kicked off on Friday night and are scheduled to continue throughout Saturday evening. In sum, an expected 1,000 attendees have likely turned out. Organizers describe the gathering as follows:
...a unique event that will seek to educate, inspire, and activate. We’re calling it TeaCon2011, and we’ll be partnering with Tea Party groups from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri to equip and motivate activists and voters for the upcoming election season.
Watch below for more:
The schedule is packed with well-known conservatives. On Friday night, Steven Crowder and Andrew Breitbart headlined the event. Below, see Crowder cracking jokes about Obama, ACORN and the like:
As the Huffington Post reports, CNN contributor Dana Loesch also spoke at a Saturday morning breakfast. And on Saturday night, the keynote speaker was none other than Glenn Beck. Below, see a picture of Beck addressing the crowd:
While GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann couldn't be there, she sent in the following video in an effort to rally participants:
Of course, not everyone is happy about TeaCon 2011. Apparently, some protesters came out to stand against the conference, with participants holding signed that read "Save Social Security," among other related messages:
It is possible that these individuals were associated with The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. On Friday, Progress Illinois promoted a rally that this group was purportedly organizing in an effort to counter the TeaCon conference:
Advocates for social security, Medicare and Medicaid will rally this weekend at the Tea Party's annual conference in Schaumburg, where several Republican candidates are expected to turn out. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare is spearheading the rally that will take place this Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center and Hotel.
Results from a convention presidential straw poll will be released Saturday evening.
Watch Beck's speech to TeaCon 2011: