The New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in New York Mills is gearing up for the 31st annual Great American Think-Off weekend from June 7-8.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, June 7 with a reception at 6-8 p.m. at the NY Mills Regional Cultural Center.  The 2024 Think-Off debate will be held at the NY Mills School Auditorium on Saturday, June 8, at 7 p.m. with a reception immediately following at the Cultural Center.

The 2024 Think-Off question, “Is freedom of speech worth the cost?” is particularly relevant this year. The debaters arguing yes are Crystal Kelley of Eden Prairie, Minn., and Michelle Mellon of Deming, N.M. Arguing no are David Lapakko of Richfield, Minn., and Bill Sutherland of Eden Prairie, Minn.

The Cultural Center is pleased to announce that this year’s Great American Think-Off is supported by the Minnesota Humanities Center. MHC collaborates with individuals, organizations, and communities to bring transformational humanities programming into the lives of Minnesotans throughout the state. 

This year’s debate will be moderated by Trygve Throntveit, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Minnesota Humanities Center. In his role at MHC, Throntveit builds and stewards relationships that hold the potential to promote understanding, justice, and human flourishing through storytelling and creative civic work across Minnesota’s diverse communities.

All are invited to meet this year’s Think-Off finalists at the reception on Friday, June 7 from 6-8 p.m. Regional artists will also be in attendance from the current gallery exhibit “Unfettered” which aligns with this year’s Think-Off topic. The public will have a chance to meet and greet the finalists and artists, enjoy light refreshments and a cash bar, and hear artist and finalist introductions at 7:15 p.m. This event is free to attend and open to all. 

  Tickets to attend the Think-Off debate are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, or $5 for students. Those who would like to become a Cultural Center member at the event (memberships start at $30/year), get into the Think-Off free. All audience members get to vote in the contest to decide who makes the better argument and is ultimately named America’s Greatest Thinker for 2024.

  For more information, call the Cultural Center at (218) 385-3339, visit the Center’s website at, or buy tickets online at (or for a shorter link: