The 31st annual Toad Suck Daze, in Conway, Arkansas, will mark a three-day festival of food, family and fun and is, reportedly, one of the state's largest festivals. It will also include arts and crafts, national entertainment, concessions, entertainment for children and a play area.
Most curiously, it will also feature the World Famous Championship Toad Races.
"There's several toad racing times set up throughout the weekend," Mary Margaret Satterfield, the spokeswoman of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce was quoted as saying in KUAR news, "Anybody can race no matter what your age, children and adults both race. We have toads available or you can bring your own toad to the festival, either one, and we do heats and on Sunday we do the championship. So if you win a heat during the weekend you get to come back on Sunday and race in that championship race."
She isn't kidding. People come from all over the state and even surrounding states to experience this outdoor festival and, of course, the toad races.
In fact, the organisers of the festival claim to have generated over a million dollars, which they then gave to scholarships and endowments at the University of Central Arkansas, the Central Baptist College, Hendrix College, the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton and the Faulkner County Community Foundation. The festival also looks to assist the young people of Faulkner County with their higher education.
The story behind the festival is an interesting one.
According to official Web site, during the era of steamboat travel on Arkansas River, sailors and passengers had to wait for the right depth before floating their boats. When it wasn't the right depth, the captains and the crew tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock and Dam now spans the river.
Now, while they waited they refreshed themselves at the local tavern there, much to the dismay of people living nearby, who said: "They suck on the bottle 'til they swell up like toads."
Thus the name Toad Suck came to being. The tavern may be long gone... but the legend and the fun live on at Toad Suck Daze.
For more details on Toad Suck Daze and scholarships, click here.