Getting a taste of the weather spring has to offer brings many things to my mind. One of those things is an event many of us look forward to each year — Toad Suck Daze.
As many of you know, I’m not originally from Conway, though I’m proud to call it home now.
I hadn’t been here very long when I was corrected on something that still cracks me up.
Apparently we don’t have frogs here in Conway. I learned that the hard way.
I was chatting with a group of Log Cabin employees when I made a comment to the effect that it was strange that a festival here was "branded" with a frog.
Ahem, it’s Toad, I was quickly informed. I capitalize the T in Toad, because that’s how serious the person correcting me was. Boy, did I mess up.
This employee quickly informed me that although many of Conway’s amphibian creatures resemble frogs — they’re actually toads. I stuck to my guns, and I proceeded to give this person a lesson in life science.
That was mistake No. 2.
This person continued that whatever I had learned in public schools was wrong, regardless of the authority, because frogs simply do not exist in Conway. Even if it looks like a frog — it’s a toad — she said. Even if that exact same creature was classified as a frog where I’d moved here from — it’s a toad — she said. Just get used to it, she continued.
OK, I thought, maybe I could persuade her to agree with me that frogs actually do exist.
Not in Conway, she said.
I learned quickly that she was in fact right. There aren’t any frogs in Conway.
And, to save you the argument that I had then, that’s the lesson that I’m passing on to you.
This person informed me that Toad Suck Daze, which, at the time, I hadn’t experienced in person, was a big deal here. Then she went on to tell me that aside from the festival’s activities, food and other attractions, it was about education and scholarships for bright, talented Faulkner County students.
Several months passed before I got to experience my first Toad Suck Daze.
Then it was here.
Overnight, downtown Conway transformed into this weekend festival full of food, fun games and live entertainment. But my favorite thing out of all the festival’s attractions has to be the food.
I made myself sick after that first May trip from the office down Front Street and past Toad Suck Square.
Chocolate covered banana? Sure. Deep fried Twinkie? Sure. Barbecue? Sure. Giant corn dog? Sure. Lemonade? Sure. Chicken on a stick? Sure. Chicken on a stick? Sure. Chicken on a stick? Sure. Anything else I could fit into my mouth? Sure.
I must have spent $50 on food that day, and my stomach and I haven’t agreed on much of anything since.
I had to work every day of TSD my first year here. But I (not so cleverly) found myself sneaking away every couple of hours to snag another chicken on a stick and glass of lemonade. You can’t blame a fella for that, right?
I finally learned my lesson on why there were not any frogs in Conway. Now, I just need to learn my lesson about chicken on a stick. If I don’t, frogs won’t be the only creature that don’t exist in Conway.