During its June board meeting, the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors unanimously agreed to keep the annual Toad Suck Daze Festival in downtown Conway. The 34 year old festival was first held in downtown Conway in 1990. After this year’s festival, a group of downtown business owners circulated a petition asking that the festival be moved out of downtown.
"The concerns of the downtown business owners are valid," said Brad Lacy Conway Area Chamber of Commerce President.
"We understand that the crowds and logistics necessary for safety completely alter "business-as-usual" during the festival. We hope that the measures agreed to tonight make the festival a business opportunity rather than a challenge."
During the meeting, the board and chamber staff discussed a plan to address many of the concerns raised by business owners. The plan focused on several key measures including:
• Dedicating the section of Oak Street east of Front Street as a retail-only destination
• Adding two downtown merchants to the Toad Suck Daze committee
• Moving some attractions for young children to the Kid’s Zone area near the courthouse
• Delaying closure of city streets until late evening hours the day before the festival
Conway Area Chamber Board Chairman Bret Carroll said that the changes to the festival were well thought out and the direct result of the positive communication that had taken place over the last several weeks.
"There’s no doubt these recommendations will make Toad Suck Daze easier on those trying to do business downtown without taking away the things we all love about the festival."