CONWAY, Ark. — A big music and entertainment festival in Conway is back this year.
That's right, we're talking about Toad Suck Daze!
It was canceled last year due to the pandemic, but this time, instead of canceling it, they're just changing how it works.
Organizers announced a new lineup of entertainment and events to be held over a six-week period.
They also revealed $40,000 in scholarships and charitable donations.
"If I'm being honest, we are much more excited about 2021. We made it through 2020, and we do want to announce a return to in-person programming this year for the 40th Toad Suck Daze. All of our events will be live and in person," said Jamie Gates with the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce.
This year’s festival programming will include several free events aimed at entertaining and educating kids throughout central Arkansas:
Educational and Family Programming
- Toad Suck Daze Tinkerfest presented by Acxiom
- May 8 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- The Museum of Discovery will provide hands-on, educational activities that incorporate STEAM curriculum in an exciting and engaging way. Admission is free. Advance registration is recommended.
- Nature and Science Exhibit presented by Caldwell Toyota, Moix RV, Crafton Tull, and Arkansas Federal Credit Union
- May 19 from 3-7 p.m.
- Arkansas Game and Fish, Museum of Discovery, Little Rock Zoo, Arkansas State Parks and other exhibitors will have live animals, educators, and equipment displays on hand to showcase all of the fun and excitement available in the Arkansas outdoors.
- Boom Art! and Arkansas PBS Family Day presented by Conway Corporation
- June 5 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Arkansas PBS Kids characters and staff will be on hand to help young ones enjoy PBS inspired activities. Attendees will also have a chance to participate in a giant-sized public art project—coloring a 30’x10’ mural!
Toad Suck Daze Traditions
- World Championship Toad Races
- May 13 from 4-6 p.m.
- The parking lot at the corner of Parkway and Main Streets in downtown Conway will become the site of the 2021 toad races. The Toad Master will kick off the festivities with the V.I.T. (Very Important Toad) Race followed by races that are open to the public. The open toad races will culminate with the World Championship. Advance registration is encouraged for the open races, but walk-ups are welcome.
- Taste of Toad Suck presented by Crain Hyundai and Crain Genesis
- May 7, May 14, May 21, and May 28 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Food vendors will be stationed in downtown Conway at Rogers Plaza every Friday in May, serving up some Toad Suck Daze favorites. Every Friday, two food vendors will be set up, so the menu will change weekly. Visit toadsuck.org for a list of participating concessionaires and what they plan to serve and when.
- Toad Suck Daze Airplane Parade presented by Wonder State Box, Rogers Group, and Crain Hyundai Genesis
- April 30 from 4-7 p.m.
- Toad Suck Daze is partnering with the City of Conway and the Lollie Bottoms Pilot Association to bring back the popular Airplane Parade introduced in 2020. The second-annual event will expand to include viewing areas at the Conway Regional Airport at Cantrell Field and two designated locations throughout the city. The pilots – including the Bulldog Flight Formation Team – will fly all over Conway, so many people will have the ability to view the planes from their homes. A map of the routes and designated viewing locations is available at toadsuck.org. At the airport, spectators will be able to watch the planes take off and land and can view vintage aircraft on the ground. A food truck and sponsor booths also will be set up on the airport grounds. Planes will take off shortly before 6 p.m., and the air show will last 45 minutes. The Conway Regional Airport is located 10.3 miles west of Interstate 40, along U.S. Highway 60 (Dave Ward Drive) to Lollie Road.
There will also be headline entertainment in town for a concert on Friday, June 11 at the University of Central Arkansas. More details on the concert will be announced at a later date.
While this six-week-long "Toad Suck season" isn't the way they normally do things, they hope to return to the usual three-day-long festival next year.
In 2020, Toad Suck Daze hosted a virtual benefit concert since Arkansans couldn't enjoy the festival as they normally would: