Another successful Toad Suck Daze has come and gone. Traditionally, unpredictable weather gave us the coldest festival on record (last year was the hottest), but Mother Nature gave dedicated festival-goers plenty of bearable weekend to work with.

Toad Suck Daze is a successful event on two fronts.

First, any Southern town worth its salt has a festival named after a native fruit, vegetable or animal. (We assume things like "Founder’s Day Festivals" mainly exist up North or in movies.) Toad Suck Daze is ours. It’s unique, fun and family-focused — just like our community.

Second, the festival is inextricably tied to education — just like our community. This year, festival proceeds will fund 21 college scholarships to Faulkner County students studying at UCA, CBC, Hendrix or UACCM. Proceeds will also support the Lifelong Learners pre-K initiative. In a less than a year, that program has already had a positive impact on more than 200 area preschoolers.

The fun and funding that stem from Toad Suck Daze would not be possible without the help of hundreds of Faulkner County residents and organizations. First, the committed festival attendees who make Toad Suck Daze a success…rain or shine. The area businesses that donate goods and services or sponsor the festival. They are the reason Toad Suck Daze is Arkansas’s largest free festival. The volunteers who set up; sell merchandise, toad bucks and drinks; and clean up and tear down the festival.

The city employees who keep downtown Conway clean and safe for three very busy days. The downtown businesses who, candidly, put up with a lot of activity and inconveniences.

And finally, the Toad Suck Committee, who will start working on next year’s festival in about 60 days.

All of these people and many others are due equal credit for the almost $1.5 million raised for education over the years and the family fun shared by thousands of our friends and neighbors.