Thursday, April 21, 2005

Toad Suck Daze, Yes Really

Long ago, steamboats traveled the Arkansas River when the water was at the right depth. When it wasn't, the captains and their crew tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock and Dam now spans the river. (Near Conway, Arkansas.) While they waited, they refreshed themselves at the local tavern there, to the dismay of the folks living nearby, who said "They suck on the bottle 'til they swell up like toads." Hence, the name Toad Suck. The tavern is long gone, but the legend and fun live on at Toad Suck Daze. (Ironically, Conway is in a dry county now. You have to drive at least 15-20 miles to get to a liquor store from here. Beer in a grocery store? Unthinkable in this town.)

That is one version of how Toad Suck got its name. There are other possibilities, such as, it is a corruption of a French term. But the above story is the most popular. When my parents were growing up here, there was a ferry across the river called, of course, the Toad Suck Ferry. These days there is a large lock and dam there, and there are parks and camping spots on each side. A very pretty place actually.

The first weekend in May (which this year starts at the end of April) is our big festival. And yes, it is called Toad Suck Daze. In fact, this will be the 23rd Annual Toad Suck Daze. I personally do not think it would be nearly so successful if it had a boring, anytown kind of name. "Toad Suck Daze is one of Arkansas' largest and most popular music, arts and food festivals, held at Downtown in Conway, Arkansas." There are concerts on Friday and Saturday nights, arts and crafts booths, every sort of food-on-a-stick that you could want, and the ever popular toad races. We even have Toad Queens. (These are not beauty contest winners, they are our version of Sweet Potato Queens.)

This is a great weekend to be in Conway. I invite everyone to come visit and check it out. It will be fun, I promise. And don't forget to buy a t-shirt! We bought our t-shirts early this year and we plan to wear them proudly when we go to Disneyworld in June. Seriously.


SG said...

Ok I was thinking that would be a cool t-shirt. I know I know...along withthe birthday pictures, I can come get them myself. Feeling better. Rhett says I sound like "daddy voice". Ahh spring!

elizabeth said...

My sister went to Harding in White County which is also dry. All of the college students drove to the next county over to get their alcohol. Every time school would resume after summer, christmas, etc, the liquor store nearest the county line put up the sign, "Welcome back, Harding students!"

DJG said...

I too live in a dry county. Ironically we have a German heritage so every fall we celebrate Octoberfest, without the beer!!!

But that don't hold a candle to Toad Suck Daze....