Toad Suck Daze is everyone's favorite excuse to visit Conway. This outdoor music, craft and food festival underwent some changes last year to differentiate it from other local festivals, and feature more local artists and businesses. Businesses responded well to the changes. This year, there are even more changes to make the festival more convenient and family friendly.
One of the best changes is that vendors will no longer require Toad Bucks. All vendors will now take cash or credit. In previous years, in order to purchase food, you had to find a Toad Bucks stand and buy Toad Bucks. This often meant going to find out what you want and figure out how many Toad Bucks it cost, and then trucking back to a Toad Bucks stand to buy that amount. I understand why festivals have festival money, but it's not very user friendly, especially for large families with kids. Doing away with Toad Bucks makes food purchases so much easier.
This year is the 35th Anniversary of Toad Suck Daze, and they are having a special "Cherokee Casino and Hotel - Roland “Concession Sweepstakes.” What that means is that is every 35th customer that turns in an eligible concession receipt will be reimbursed.
Another big change is a second stage. Toad Suck Daze added a second stage, the Kum and Go Stage at Kings, which will host regional and traditional acts. The McDonald's/Crain Kia Main State at Simon Park will still host headliners.
Friday night the headline acts are Kish Moody & The Holy Rock Revival, Josh Wilson, Peter Furler and Danny Gokey. Tate Smith and Tyler Kinchen and the Right Pieces will perform on the Kum and Go Stage. Saturday, the major acts are Taylor Nealey, Zac Dunlap Band, Dixie Jade, Blane Howard, Jordan Davis, Courtney Cole, Josh Dorr and Thompson Square. The smaller stage will have The Whole Damn Family, Akeem Kemp Band and Groovement.
Bring your own chair for the show, because there is limited seating.
Aside from music, Toad Suck Daze has many fun activities for people of all ages. There is the annual Toad Suck Daze 5k for those in your family who wish to participate in a race.
One of the best changes last year that will be back is the open-air shopping on Oak Street. The Oak Street Galleria features high-quality merchandise from upscale boutiques and skilled artisans from around the region. There's also the "Toad Market" which has over 150 vendors. Many of these products will also be artisan made, but you'll find a variety of items from hammocks and clothing to even major retailers like Tuff Shed and Jamberry.
Toad Suck Daze has 40 different concession vendors. They say, "From hamburgers and corndogs to kettle corn and funnel cakes, if you have a craving for something on a stick, you will find it at Toad Suck Daze." They even have a few odd things like alligator and crayfish, fried rice, Jambalaya and Wafflewiches.
The kid zone has fun entertainment like clowns and magicians, animals, dancers and martial arts demos and a children’s play area, sand box, petting zoo and pony rides. Toad Suck Daze is partnering with Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield and AETN to bring Daniel Tiger, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Nature Cat to the festival. Characters will be at the McDonald’s/Crain Kia Main Stage on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Sunday, May 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is also a fun parade on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Toad Suck Daze takes place April 29-May 1 in downtown Conway. You can usually find parking around Van Ronkle and Oak Street, but pay attention to signs. The festival grounds are officially open on Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It's free to attend.
Proceeds from the festival support education initiatives and scholarships. Over the past 35 years, more than $1.5 million dollars has been donated to education initiatives.