Friday, May 2, 2008

Toad Suck Festival

There is a small community in Arkansas that sits on the Arkansas River named Toad Suck. It is near Conway. In 1982, Conway began holding a festival to raise money for scholarships to help local students further their education. Over the years the festival has raised over $500,000 for local students to attend Central Baptist College, Hendrix College, University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, and the University of Central Arkansas. CBC, Hendrix, and UCA are all colleges located in Conway, Arkansas. (photo credit) The festival is the first weekend of May (this year May 2-4th).

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.

The festival has grown to include multiple sports events: basketball, golf, 5K/10K, bicycling, and softball. There are free music concerts. This year some of the bands featured are: Hwy 5, Riverbilly, Blake Shelton , Ben Coulter, Culpepper Mountain Band, FreeVerse, KickBack, The Blue Meanies, Shaw Blades .

 

Each year they sell T-shirts (photo credit), lots of food and craft vendors, and there are toad races. This year as in the past few years there has been some difficulty finding the toads (don't confuse them with frogs). The article below may help explain why the numbers are decreasing.

There is a nice article on Amphibians (frogs, salamanders, and others) slipping into oblivion in Defenders (a conservation magazine of Defenders of Wildlife). You can read it online here. The photo below is of a female marsupial frog and her offspring (credit) and is from the article. The article states that amphibians are the most threatened group of animals in the world.

3 comments:

Val said...

Funny town name and interesting history!

Midwife with a Knife said...

That's the best town name ever! I'd love to live in a place called Toad Suck.

P.S. I just tagged you for the 6 word memoir meme!

Vijay said...

Ditto what Val said.
This one is better than England, AR.