Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Toad Suck Daze

Get your mind out of the gutter, jeez.

Just a tad north of Little Rock is the community of Conway, Arkansas, population 43,000.


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Each year, generally on the last weekend of April, the locals hold an annual festival, Toad Suck Daze, to raise money to support the community's colleges, and junior college scholarship funds. To date they have raised almost a million dollars. Guess what. It's this weekend.

Sadly, we will be unable to attend, although we approve in spirit. Conway is one of those places you just can't get to from here, although I don't, on principle, object to travel for cotton candy, fried snickers bars, funnel cakes or decent bar b q.

What does "Toad Suck" mean anyway?

Well, the answer is quite simple... 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. 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.

From the official bulletin

Should you go, I would appreciate a full report. Most often they have biblical rains all weekend.

Further info may be found here and here.

Two other notable festivals occur this weekend as well. Should you find yourself near Breaux Bridge, La. it's time for the annual crawfish festival. You may enjoy Calvin Trillin's report of his visits to the Festival in years past here.

Finally, as long as you are near, why not stop by Natchez, Mississippi for the Natchez Bluff Blues festival?

Toad

10 comments:

Karena said...

Love the lore of the Toad Suck Daze. Oh and I thought you might like fried snicker bars!!

Karena
Art by Karena

Toad said...

Sugar, fat, fried, mighty fine

Shelley said...

Natchez,Mississippi...one of my definitions of heaven!

heavy tweed jacket said...

It doesn't get any better than sugar, fat and salt in the right combinations. Sounds like a fun festival. And, I like the description on the Natchez Festival site of The Blues as a "natural resource" - there's one that won't ever be depleted.

Martha said...

Ah, the small town festival. It's always a lot of fun! Ours has the simple name of "Good Ol Days" -- Toad Suck is so much better . . . and for us Missouri natives, Northfield, Minnesota's festival is called "Defeat of Jesse James Days" (the nerve!)

James said...

I think it would be worth the trip just to be able to answer"Toad suck" when asked where you went.

Town and Country Mom said...

I once had the privilege of going to the Zellwood (FL) sweet corn festival. Rednecks for miles, hogs at the troughs--it was something else. The corn, though, was as you said, "mighty fine."

Paul said...

And to think...I've been toad sucking and swelling for years!

Pigtown-Design said...

I've even been to Toad Suck on a cross country trip. My friend was laughing at how my triple-barrel name would look above a Toad Suck, Arkansas address!

Toad said...

You meet he damnedest people here