Mary Margaret Satterfield

Podcast: Season 2; Episode 7: Mary Margaret Satterfield talks Toad Suck Daze

Today on the Weekly podcast we visit with Mary Margaret Satterfield from the Chamber of Commerce talking about Toad Suck Daze

SHOW NOTES

Toad Suck Daze has been around for 42 years

$2M in scholarships since the beginning

Scholarships given to students to attend UACCM, UCA, Central Baptist College, or Hendrix

TSD originally started at Toad Suck Park

One of the most unique named festivals in the country

Music headliner this year is Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors

Toad Suck Daze Page

Music by Joystick – https://www.joystock.org

The transcript is generated automatically and may contain inconsistencies.

Transcript

00:00.00

tejones

Hey, everyone, welcome to the weekly podcast by Conway scene I am your host Todd Jones and today I am honored to have with me Mary Margaret Satterfield who is the director of all things toad suck daze and. Events I probably butchered that just a little bit but ah welcome to the show and please tell us a little bit about what you do down there at the chamber of commerce and how you make toad suck days. Go.

00:28.76

Mary Margaret

Yeah, well you got it almost right? It is the director of toad suck daze and events for the chamber of commerce so right now I’m a hundred percent toad suck daze and but other than that I work on some other events here at the chamber our annual meeting business expo the teacher breakfast and education faire. I do the illuminate Christmas tree lighting with the city. So just a bunch of things like planning those events and making sure that um you know we have vendors that are good and acts that are good and sponsors are happy and all that fun stuff.

00:48.48

tejones

No.

01:01.76

tejones

Yeah, and I’ve been to many of those events you just pointed out and they’re always very top notch. So obviously you do a good job. How long have you been doing this for the chamber wow so you’ve been doing the same role for 20 years or like progress over the.

01:11.23

Mary Margaret

I have done this for 20 years

01:20.40

tejones

Over the period of time.

01:21.80

Mary Margaret

It’s changed a little bit when I started my job. My title was director of marketing and tourism and there were only 5 of us that worked here at the chamber and now there’s 18 of us here and as we’ve added on and grown and done things my job has gone from kind of.

01:25.82

tejones

A yeah.

01:39.24

Mary Margaret

Doing the marketing and kind of doing that cvb part before we really had a a big cvb presence in town. I’m into more just the event side and kind of streamlined into events but toads like days has been a part of my jobs at the very beginning.

01:43.30

tejones

Yeah.

01:51.30

tejones

Now you’ve you’ve thrown some stuff around there I Heard you say he’s Cvc I think that’s convention and visitors was bureau cbb. Yeah.

01:58.77

Mary Margaret

Convention of visitors Bureau Cv B yeah.

02:04.25

tejones

And I didn’t really know that existed until you guys signed an N I L with some of the college athletes back in the fall is that part of the Chamber separate connected. How’s that work?

02:09.37

Mary Margaret

And So the Conway Cvb Um, that is actually a separate organization. Um, but they partner with us here at the chamber to help them do a lot of the promotion and help them or so we do.

02:19.60

tejones

If.

02:29.11

Mary Margaret

We do a lot of the advertising buys. We do some of the promotion of going to different places to like try to bring teams and activities here and there’s somebody here on staff. That’s you know their whole job is to really kind of promote the city for the Cdb for.

02:34.89

tejones

Ah.

02:41.43

tejones

Right? And many of those events you mentioned and some of them are really more internal like you know the annual convention. The annual meeting is really a conway Chamber members deal.

02:45.21

Mary Margaret

Ah, the chamber for other organizations.

02:58.31

tejones

But you talked about the illuminate and you talked about toads suck days. Those are really very outreach oriented events. So I can see how the cvb would be an important part of that equation.

03:07.33

Mary Margaret

Yeah, yeah, so the cvb is one of our sponsors. They are actually our main stage sponsor of the festival and you know it’s a festival. We teto gaze is now the largest festival in the state of Arkansas. Um, and so.

03:14.14

tejones

A.

03:22.60

tejones

Yeah.

03:25.11

Mary Margaret

At least we say it is I’m pretty sure it is I work with and Arkansas Festival Association a lot. There’s a lot of large you know there’s getting to be a lot of large festivals in Arkansas but I think we’re still one of the larger ones in the state if not the largest and so we can bring a lot of people into central Arkansas and show off.

03:28.41

tejones

Ah, yeah, right.

03:42.60

Mary Margaret

Um, Conway and the state as a whole just through the festival.

03:45.34

tejones

And that is why we have Mary on the call today to talk about all things toad suck daze I’ll bet all this goes into doing that. So um, let’s talk about the why and I know you guys have this information on the website and we’ll get that up. Ah, in the show notes you know the website for the tosuk days. You guys have a very good website with all that information. But let’s talk a little bit about the why in the background of touk days.

04:13.76

Mary Margaret

Okay, so Toad Suck Daze was started in 1982 and it was started by John Ward. He worked for the blog cabin at the time and he really wanted a festival that kind of just I think as he said it. Kind of brought everybody out of those winter doldrums which is not a phrase that’s probably said a whole lot anymore. Um, and so they held it originally at toedsuc park right? there at the Arkansas River and so then the name kind of grew out of that. He just kind of came up with the name Toad Suck daze of you know.

04:36.77

tejones

Yeah, yeah.

04:50.50

Mary Margaret

Kind of being in a winter days coming into spring and he just wanted a way to get people out of the house and enjoy the springtime. Um, and you know really they say that first year they thought maybe 2 or 3000 people would show up and more than 25000 people showed up so it was a successful festival right? from the star and it was.

05:03.97

tejones

Wow.

05:09.91

Mary Margaret

It was purely a committee-based festival; he and some of his friends ran it and they got some local businesses involved. It wasn’t until the early 90 s that they actually had grown so much that they needed some kind of full-time help and that’s when. They came to the chamber and it rolled under the umbrella and started having a staff person that helped do things and and things of that nature and that early 90 s is also when it moved into downtown conway versus Toad Suck park and that was because. And was actually a flood, one of those hundred year floods and it flooded toad suck park like the week before the festival and so within a week those organizers brought everything downtown reorganized everything and it just worked really well here I remember being a kid and going to the festival out at tedset park and like.

05:46.46

tejones

A.

06:01.21

Mary Margaret

There was one way in because it was on the Perry County side so you had to go over the bridge and traffic was so bad like it you it would back up forever just trying to get into tedsu so traffic became better. There were more places apart downtown. You know there’s more pavement for arts and craft veneers to set up. It’s not as muddy as things like that. So.

06:02.93

tejones

5

06:20.83

Mary Margaret

They stay downtown and it’s kind of been there ever since and just keeps growing.

06:24.56

tejones

Yeah, you know, um when 2019 you had Erin Enderlin here who you know she opened right before Steve Earl and she’s a Conway girl doing quite well . I have followed her since then and she told me that she used to ride her bike down to watch the music and.

06:32.55

Mary Margaret

In that.

06:43.50

tejones

So it’s just kind of cool that you know people who were kids enjoying toadstuck days are now involved in either managing or being an actual musician at toad suck daze. It’s just kind of you get to see something happen full circle. And it’s been around forty years right 82 that’s forty years ago yeah so that’s an impressive you know I grew up in Batesville and we have the white Robert White River Water carnival and it’s a pretty good size one as well and in that and I know.

07:04.13

Mary Margaret

It’s more technically this year will be the forty first year technically yeah

07:13.40

Mary Margaret

Um, yes, yeah, it is.

07:20.34

tejones

1 of the other big festivals over the years and I think it’s not as big as it used to be the King Biscuit festival blues festival and Helena and that’s one it’s kind of like on my bucket list. But I think the better days of that one may have passed and that’s unfortunate, but that would be a fun one to go to. But.

07:26.75

Mary Margaret

Yes.

07:40.40

tejones

Yeah, so getting people out. It’s spring. We have. We’ve had crazy weather ourselves this Spring. You’re either underwater or under the blankets because it’s either been cold or wet by the time we get there. Hopefully some of that will pass I have experienced. Cold to suck days I have experienced wet toad suck daze and I’ve experienced hot toad suck daze so it can be a little bit of everything when was that what year.

08:08.59

Mary Margaret

Yeah, where were you here for the tornado toad suck daze?. Oh gosh 2010 maybe

08:17.46

tejones

Yeah I mean I was here about doubt I went down there you know I was the first year I was living here and I hadn’t ventured out to do everything yet I do I may have gone down though I think the place where I was going the church I was going to had a ah young man I believe that was participating and I believe they.

08:23.70

Mary Margaret

Um, this is just.

08:36.49

tejones

I believe they actually did. There used to be a toad suck star like american idol and I think it was last year they did it or 1 of the last years they did it. So I think I went down for that. But I don’t know that I did the rest of it but I have ventured out since then and.

08:39.19

Mary Margaret

Yeah, yeah, we sure did do that for a few years.

08:46.57

Mary Margaret

Okay.

08:52.94

tejones

Checked it out ever since we’ve been doing calmly seen I’ve kind of made it part of the coverage I guess that we do so tell us some of the unique things about toadsuc days stuff that has carried over the last couple twenty years since you’ve been here that people will experience when they come. To toad suck days this year.

09:11.41

Mary Margaret

Well I think so I think of course the most unique thing about toadset days is gonna be the toad races. I don’t know anywhere else really that you can toad race. There are there some places in California that say they do toad racing. But it’s really just like a jump contest where they’ll place that really does that. Toad racing for everyone and that’s what sets us apart from any other festival itself. Um, you know I think while many festivals have food and arts and crafts and entertainment and things of that nature. You know I think we work really hard. Come up with some food items that maybe you aren’t going to see at a regular festival or a regular event or fair or anything of that nature. Um, you know, kind of making sure that there’s a broad range of things. Um, so that there’s always something for someone there. The same thing with arts and crafts. We have a committee that does our arts and crafts and they really work and there have been changes throughout the years from things like kind of what’s hot and what you see more vendors wanting to do and and you know booty clothing or handmade jewelry or face painting and all that kind of stuff. And we have a great kind of arts and crafts area that we’ve really just expanded this year with our new market at the park right? crossing and so that’s a new, a new group thing we kind of brought in this year and it’s actually gonna be curated. Um. Kind of european style market that will be in the parking lot there at district court which is the corner of parkway and oak and it will be a large scale kind of tinted farmers market sort of Arkansas product market.

10:48.70

tejones

A.

10:56.19

Mary Margaret

Um, we’re really excited about that so they may do some things like fresh breads and produce. But then also things like grape soda that is manufactured here in Arkansas and um that I think just is gonna compliment the vendors that we have every year that are just you know from. Mostly from Arkansas but from around the south around the US that are selling their workers as well and so that’s you know we work really hard to curate that and make that a little bit different than maybe what you would see at a normal show. Um, and then another thing I think really sets toad suck daze apart is our focus on kids.

11:31.28

tejones

There.

11:33.22

Mary Margaret

And our focus on education and so you’ll find a kids area in just about any festival you go to with tosak Days. You’re gonna find several kids areas so we have our total kids zone where you have school choirs performing and you have open play areas and. Sandbox and all that kind of fun stuff for young kids You have the magicians and the clowns and the balloon artists and all of that. But then you also have our Tinker fest area which is a partnership with museum of Discovery where it may skew a little bit older than total kid zone but it’s. You know hands-on stem activities that the kids are able to come out and Tinker with and learn about and build and do and all that kind of stuff and then you know the tote dum is somewhat of a kid’s area even though anybody can come race toad. No at your age. You’ll Notice. It’s mostly kids that are racing toads and so we really try to build um kids areas and kids events into most of the things we do whether it’s those specific areas or vendors or entertainment or things of that nature. Um, and then. You know on the education side. All of the proceeds from Toad suck daze actually helped to support Education. So when you have the education the festival of those stem activities where people can come down and learn and do at the festival and then you also move into the long term effects of tedek days.

12:52.58

tejones

Um, and.

13:06.50

Mary Margaret

Um, and we’ve given over $2000000 towards education in faulkner county since the beginning of the festival and that’s in terms of college scholarships. We’ve done funding for the imagination like um imagination library dolly parton’s imagination library. We’ve done funding for arts nonprofits and kind of helping scholarship students at arts nonprofits in town whether it’s it was blackbird when they were still um, up and running or it’s red curtain or is the shakespeare theater or conway symphony orchestra and things like that. So.

13:40.10

tejones

Um, try.

13:43.47

Mary Margaret

And those are kind of what make us or at least what I think make us different from other festivals.

13:46.28

tejones

That is unique and what the $38000 in scarships. This year is that correct.

13:50.82

Mary Margaret

So right now and right now our scholarships we have 17 a little over 17000 that are going directly to college scholarships and those are our kids that have graduated from ah faulkner County high school or they were homeschool living homeschooled.

13:59.38

tejones

That.

14:09.70

Mary Margaret

Living in Faulkner County, they’re going to attend Uca Cbc Hendrix or UACCM. Um, we actually do make some donations to downtown conway. Um the hanging baskets that you see around downtown conway those are provided by toad suck daze and so there’s 20000 to downtown partnership for that.

14:13.31

tejones

Okay.

14:20.88

tejones

My.

14:28.94

Mary Margaret

And that’s where we are right now for this year i’m just coming back after 2 years. We’re a little bit. You know we’re having to really watch that budget going in and so what we’re really hoping is to have a really successful toad suck daze and be able to really kind of um. Give some of that other funding that we’ve done like imagination library or or things like that some extra funds as as we kind of see that we’re that we’re gonna have that.

14:52.61

tejones

Yeah, and so that brings up something else. We really haven’t had physical toad suck daze in 2 years which hurt the budget. I think I talked to you about this a year ago about how that was hurting a little bit. But we were talking before we got on about Adam Hanbrick coming on to be a creative director and how that was spun out of the time you had to reflect 2 years without a physical festival how you decided you needed someone like that. Can you talk a little bit about it? This idea of the creative director and how Adam plays a part.

15:28.73

Mary Margaret

Yeah, so really as I said you know there’s a little argument in the office because I’ll say it’s been two years since we’ve had Toad Suck Daze but really if you look at it. It’s been three calendar years since we’ve done a toad suck daze and so as we you know, kind of started.

15:39.54

tejones

A.

15:46.28

Mary Margaret

Looking at coming back this year and how we were gonna do that and things like that. We really took some time and we took some time early on during the pandemic even to really look at what toad suck daze is and what that legacy is and how to kind of cultivate and reimagine the festival in a creative direction and to. Look at the culture of Arkansas to look at the culture kind of around us and that creativity and how to bring that in so Adam coming in as a creative director. You know he’s helped us with some programs in the new market area that I mentioned he’s gonna do a songwriters retreat before the festival and. Um, a partnership with Bluebird Cafe and those kinds of things. What? what? The hope is that we’re doing these things that kind of bring a little bit of culture here and kind of celebrate the culture of Arkansas in Central Arkansas and that those will just continue to grow. Um, and continue to kind of spread and the festival will kind of become this um cultural example of the central Arkansas area.

16:48.78

tejones

So some of the things you’re doing this year that are a little different, a little bit more creative or really a starting point to hopefully grow on.

16:55.72

Mary Margaret

Yes, so the song writers retreat is really kind of a cool deal. There I think are 4 song writerters that are going to come to Conway before the festival. Um, they’re doing a retreat at Uca where they’re going to sit around and write songs together and kind of do that. Fun stuff kind of. Um, you know, collaborate and all of that and then the Thursday of the festival that is April Twenty Eighth and they are actually going to perform at the brickroom. Um, we always have a VIP which is a very important toad kind of party before the festival and so.

17:29.96

tejones

F.

17:35.50

Mary Margaret

This v party. Um, but that we’re partnering with Bluebird Cafe out of Nashville with that and and that part of that is directly due to Adam I mean he has those contacts and really kind of started looking at this and so they’ll do the songs retreat then they’ll perform at the at. As part of the the bluebird cafe concert for the vs and then what the hope is is that maybe 4 years from now the person performing on the main stage is you know, maybe 1 of these songwriters who’s right, you know has is singing a song that’s a hit that they wrote. At the Ted se writers retreat three or four years before do you see how that kind of cycle cycles through so that’s kind of the long-term kind of hope of what this will do I think just really kind of looking at the direction. The festival can go and and.

18:14.88

tejones

Yeah I think yeah I think that can happen too to.

18:31.63

Mary Margaret

Kind of strategically growing it in a creative and cultural way.

18:35.76

tejones

We talked about Adam and you brought up songwriter. So let’s talk about music acts and I know that you’ve got 3 verified as of this recording? Um, so we’ll have more of that information probably by the time this podcast airs. But.

18:51.14

Mary Margaret

Yes.

18:54.40

tejones

Um, we know that Drew Oakcom and Adam Hembrick and I guess lane long long are scheduled to be a part of the entertainment at the totug days is that the 3 that you had oh.

19:07.31

Mary Margaret

So now I have more for you actually so our headliners are Drew Holcomb on Saturday night and Adam Hamburg is opening up for Drew Holcomb and lane long is opening up for Adam um, so that’s right? but then we also have a band. It’s called the Josh Abbott band

19:26.26

Mary Margaret

You’re gonna be on Friday night and there Is a guy named Baker Grisham who is the opening act for the Josh Abbott band that is all at the cvb main stage on Friday or yeah Friday and Saturday night.

19:31.92

tejones

And that’s all at the main stage on Friday night. Yeah Friday in sorry yeah, and usually Kings has some acts and I guess that’ll be announced in the next ah

19:42.86

Mary Margaret

They they do I have their I think I have their their thing they’re gonna do the a King Camp band on Friday night and there is a band on Saturday called the Irie Lions

19:50.72

tejones

Oh oh.

19:57.58

tejones

Okay, so they’ve already got there. Okay, we’re getting there. We’re getting there.

20:01.32

Mary Margaret

They got their son stuff done too. You So um, you know we’re having those having that kind of extra stage and King’s being able to do some bands as well. You know it’s just it brings a whole nother aspect of the festival in and you know a different group maybe than what’s playing on the main stage and.

20:19.37

Mary Margaret

Um, you know I’m also excited. We’re working with Conway Um Institute of music and then palmer student palmer music company and they’re both instituted music on Friday night and palmer music on Saturday night from about like 5 5 thirty to about probably like six thirty ish or so.

20:25.17

tejones

A.

20:38.57

Mary Margaret

They’ll have their students and bands playing at the total kids on stages as well.

20:41.39

tejones

Absolutely love that. Ah ideal I think we have 2 really nice music schools in town and I know the owners of both those places. So I think that’s cool. I have listened to students of theirs in the past and instructors and various settings. So I’m excited about that.

20:59.23

Mary Margaret

Yeah, yeah.

21:01.42

tejones

Let’s talk about some previous music acts and I know that obviously in 2019 we had Steve Earrl we had Erin Enderlin who also grew up in conway and went to toksuck days as a little girl. There’s a rumor that you had Blake Shelton at 1 time is that correct.

21:15.54

Mary Margaret

We did have Blake Shelton at one time I I actually have given the key to the city of Conway or like Shelton before no we did? yeah.

21:22.35

tejones

Okay, yeah, and then of course he brought it up in the voice you know a toad suck and that got a little bit of a boost but it was En vogue here probably the first year I was here. It’s good. We talk about some of the other previous acts.

21:37.45

Mary Margaret

So we’ve had if you want to look at the kind of big names empty hammer has been here and that was a fun one and he got a big whole group of people up on stage and danced with him Charlie Daniels band has been here um Miranda Lambert and Jason Alean came as a.

21:50.77

tejones

Okay.

21:56.28

tejones

Really.

21:57.21

Mary Margaret

They were scheduled to play and then after we booked them they really blew up really popular and some of the time they got to conway. It was like a madhouse of people that wanted to see them. You’re gonna put me on the spot because I don’t.

22:07.96

tejones

Oh boy.

22:16.12

Mary Margaret

I’m gonna not remember who’s been here year after year after year. Um I’ve done a and let’s say um.

22:21.21

tejones

You’ve already told me more and I knew anybody not in the country. Ah you know, know you mentioned MCHammer and in vogue but outside of the.

22:29.19

Mary Margaret

Yeah, we’ve done different rock bands over the years. I’m trying to think who I remember coming in um sticks Brett Michaels I remember Bret Michaels being here. Um, he came around the same time he was filming. Um.

22:40.30

tejones

Really.

22:48.19

Mary Margaret

Rock of love and when he did that when he was doing rock of love. Um, but Michael sticks um night ranger. They were my first year. That was my very first year here as a night ranger because I remember not knowing who they were but.

22:56.75

tejones

And wow.

23:07.68

Mary Margaret

I was just on that custom just just young enough I knew their songs I just didn’t know who they were um, let’s see. Um.

23:11.32

tejones

Um, yeah.

23:18.12

tejones

See y’all you all should get that list and put it on the website somewhere.

23:20.59

Mary Margaret

I have you know I have some brochures. I’m trying to think I have a bunch of brochures but we quit doing brochures gosh probably in like 15012 so don’t remember after that unless I’m just thinking about it. Um, Clint block. Well.

23:30.71

tejones

A.

23:39.43

Mary Margaret

I say we had Clint Black I’m not a hundred percent sure that Clint black actually played or not he might have been the tornado year. Um, but he was here and I did meeting. Um, we’ve had um, oh.

23:44.37

tejones

Yeah.

23:58.60

Mary Margaret

Like I said if you’re gonna put me on the spot here I’m looking through my brochures now trying to remember Laurie Morgan was one. She was a that’s that country. Obviously you know like I. I think I mentioned earlier we have a lot of good um luck with the cut with country and and kind of how our.

24:03.35

tejones

Okay, yeah, yeah.

24:14.16

tejones

Right? and.

24:17.58

Mary Margaret

Um, our crowd does and you know they have a high range of different price points and things of that nature that allow us to kind of do some of that which is always good but we you know we really try to kind of change it up sometimes than we can. Um.

24:28.38

tejones

Got you.

24:37.30

Mary Margaret

Last year um you know we had a concert last year even without having the festival and we had Jimmy Allen come in. He’s kind of hot in the country world right now and he did it on a great concert. There weren’t a whole lot of people there. It was a ticketed concert instead of a free concert and.

24:45.84

tejones

Now. Yeah, right.

24:57.29

Mary Margaret

Um, it was in general that he did a great, great show at that time. Um, so yeah, just a bunch of different people I think Charlie Daniels is one that sticks out the most of my mind the ah Brett or Blake Shelton sticks out a lot in my mind and there was 1 maybe it was survivor I don’t know there was one I remember it being really cold or really rainy and um, sitting the committee sat on the back of the stage and just watched the show because he still played and there was hardly anybody out in the in the crowd because it was raining and.

25:15.26

tejones

And.

25:30.27

tejones

Yeah, that’s the drawback this time of year. The weather’s unpredictable and your stage is basically outside and everybody has to sit outside so it can be great. You can have weather like we do today and.

25:32.78

Mary Margaret

Um.

25:47.83

tejones

Awesome! And or you could have tornadoes and you can have rain and you can have unseasonably cool weather and.

25:52.41

Mary Margaret

So fun fact, everybody will always say it always rains on toad suck daze. But we have done the work and actually it rains less than it is sunny so it’s actually sunny more often during toad suck daze than it is rain.

25:57.64

tejones

And.

26:07.88

tejones

Yeah, yeah, you know it is one of those things that in my recollection and again I’ve only been in comedy since 2010 so but it’s like it may have rained that weekend but like 1 time out of you know, like maybe Friday or maybe parts part of the time saturday.

26:09.61

Mary Margaret

Everybody just remembers the raining.

26:23.59

Mary Margaret

Yes.

26:27.83

tejones

Or Saturday or Sunday morning. So you know something you know, not the whole weekend. Um, so um I can remember going out probably to the last stuck on a truck I heard about when I moved to convey this stuck on a truck and it would be pretty cool. You know it’s pretty cold outside and so you know it’s just unpredictable weather. But boy when it’s good. It’s good.

26:48.20

Mary Margaret

Yes, and and I will say I’ve dealt with the rain and all that the cold year with the worst and it may remember we had Kip Moore. I remember having Kip Moore here because it was like the weekend we had Kip Moore it snowed in Fayetteville. And it was probably like ° at night here and during that concert it was probably ° and he went out there with short sleeves on and put on a great concert and I was bundled up in my heavy winter coat and just like I can’t believe he’s out here. That’s.

27:18.45

tejones

Yeah, well you know and not all how active he was on stage I remember of course I was a kid then playing football but cold nights you know if you’re Playing. You’re not.. It’s not quite as bad. You know you kind of heat up a little bit I mean. Now they have all this stuff kids wear all this stuff under their pads and you know these nice basically weather related top sleeves and stuff like that. We didn’t have you know I can remember wearing sweatshirts on her pads when I was a kid. But anyway yeah, you get warmed up sometimes just by the act of.

27:47.46

Mary Margaret

Um.

27:55.17

tejones

Forming can sometimes make you warm and so everybody’s different right? and regards that somebody’s gonna want to bundle up and weather like that and some are gonna wear short sleeve shirt. So anyway, but well I’m excited I’m excited that for the first time in three calendar years we’re gonna have.

28:13.10

Mary Margaret

Yes.

28:13.20

tejones

And in-person tosuk days I’m looking forward to learning more about the market. Um, in my understanding it is in the parking lot here on parkway.

28:20.20

Mary Margaret

It is. It’s gonna be in the parking lot where the toad dome has normally been so we’ve done a little rearranging. The toad dome is actually gonna move up to the centennial bank parking lot. Um, and right here at.

28:25.12

tejones

Oh okay, okay I’m thinking about where you usually make Midway where you put the rides but you’re not talking about that local as you talk about others? Okay, yeah.

28:37.35

Mary Margaret

No not talking about that I’m talking about the parking lot. It’s on the corner of oaken parkway. So right there by like district court ah across from like Brooks if people are familiar with conway right there across from Mike Brooks Jewelry and olive. Um.

28:43.23

tejones

Right? Okay, yeah, yeah, exactly across the street from is it Ott insurance company. Yeah so um, yeah, well you have parking lots on both sides of the District courthouse and.

28:54.56

Mary Margaret

Yes, yes about the internet. Yes, that will still be the middle.

29:03.60

tejones

1 is where the downtown conway farmers market is that’ll be midway with the rides and the other one will be where you have the marketplace with all the arts and crafts that that sounds like something I will be visiting.

29:10.32

Mary Margaret

Yes, yeah, so it’ll be right there and then of course all of our other arts and crafts kind of make that block between um, that parking lot all the way down to the courthouse and back up around so the toad dome moves up to um.

29:22.66

tejones

Right.

29:29.80

Mary Margaret

Kind of Toad Square across from the old city. What is now the Arnold Innovation Center The old City Hall where Centennial bank is um, it’s a new location for that and New Market area. The total kid zone is still at the courthouse and doesn’t have any.

29:30.00

tejones

Oh yeah.

29:44.25

tejones

I Know it.

29:47.25

Mary Margaret

The kids midway right there by them kind of the more teen Midway is there on Parkway in the Farmers Market parking lot.

29:53.71

tejones

In years past the fire department would do a kind of a demonstration thing where you could sign up to participate and learn about that. Are they still doing that beat oak street right?

30:05.13

Mary Margaret

Yeah, if the kids crawl dragon squirt and so they do on Friday they do some preliminaries at the fire department right down there and then Saturday morning they run their finals on front street. Um.

30:16.14

tejones

Okay, on front street right? right.

30:23.36

Mary Margaret

The other thing that’s going to be a little different this year um so ah, the toad suck five Ten K Five k race and that is actually that’s not part put on by us. It’s actually put on by the kiwanis club but we kind of count it as an event of tt tech days. It’s what we call a sanctioned event.

30:34.97

tejones

Right.

30:40.59

tejones

Right.

30:42.63

Mary Margaret

Um, and we are working within this year their tadpole trot which is their kids race that they usually do Saturday morning is actually gonna move to Friday evening about I think is at five forty five and it’s gonna be held downtown at the festival. So they’re gonna run. Um.

30:47.51

tejones

Yeah, with that. I said.

30:57.59

tejones

Okay.

31:01.43

Mary Margaret

Down front street So like from the first security bank down to like Toad Square for the tadpole trot. So we’re excited about that.

31:05.70

tejones

Okay, very good, very good. Yeah in the other one Saturday morning if I understand right? the 10 5 ten k we got that on the calendar and I guess one last very critical piece of information that we all want to know about.

31:12.59

Mary Margaret

Yes, yes.

31:21.23

Mary Margaret

And there will be kettle corn.

31:24.30

tejones

Will there be kettle corn there? Yeah, that is a huge deal for toadsu days. Everybody wants get a I remember the last couple years when we weren’t having in person I remember someone’s on Facebook asking are we go to have Kettle Corn Like

31:39.45

Mary Margaret

Yes, we’ll have kettle corn. We’ll have turkey legs. We’ll have chicken on a stick. Um, as I mentioned we have a couple new food vendors coming in this year um spud love which is a local food truck. He’s actually gonna be a part of toad suck daze this year. There’s a guy coming in.

31:40.15

tejones

I’m sure somewhere there’s kettle corn. You could buy it.

31:50.95

tejones

Um, yeah, yeah, good.

31:57.56

Mary Margaret

From a little bit out of state that does um Wisconsin Cheese Curds which is something we used to have people who are very familiar with the early two thousand s festival will know that we used to do that there and they were a big hit and um, we found a new one. They.

32:01.38

tejones

Okay, a.

32:14.41

Mary Margaret

That vendor ended up not coming back and we found a new vendor this year for that we have some Greek food coming in this year which is new and different. So a lot of our same vendors are coming back so you should be able to get just about anything you got before lots of corn dogs.

32:28.39

tejones

Corn dog. That’s usually what I look forward to. Yeah you can get corn dogs in a lot of places but they’re not the same as those corn dogs like you get at the fair or tetto Spec They oh yeah, it’s they taste better too. I don’t know why but they taste better.

32:33.82

Mary Margaret

Lots of corn dogs. Lots of funnel cakes.

32:42.32

Mary Margaret

It’s like the fit. It’s a footlong corn dog. It’s good.

32:48.24

tejones

So yeah, okay, well, that’s good. It’s good to know about kettle corn. Not you know, just in case somebody asked me and like there will be kettle corn there. So like all of the best of the previous years and maybe a few new things that are that should be fun as well.

32:53.97

Mary Margaret

There will be kettlecorn.

33:02.11

Mary Margaret

Yes, yeah, I feel like I said most of what’s been here in the past will be back and then a couple new things as well.

33:05.79

tejones

Alright, if.

33:10.30

tejones

Okay, let’s think about it because in 3 years we’ve had a lot of people come to conway. Let’s say they’re listening to this podcast and they’ve heard about this toad suck daze and they’re curious about going. Um, let’s talk about a few things. I know there’s not an entry free for toad suck daze but be prepared to walk.

33:14.71

Mary Margaret

Um, no.

33:29.64

tejones

Because parking is a premium downtown and pretty much everything is blocked off and I know there’s some parking places nearby that people can park and walk. I have often parked myself at the Methodist Church so can you talk a little bit about that.

33:42.96

Mary Margaret

Yeah, so we block off most of downtown conway. Um, so that’s oak street kind of from here at the Chamber of Commerce all the way down to Locust street where the fire department. Um the courthouse is Locust street across I mean know it.

33:54.26

tejones

Um, if.

34:00.35

Mary Margaret

We take up a good 2 square blocks of downtown Conway. So what you kind of consider most of downtown conway is probably going to be blocked off. Um, but you know just outside of the festival grounds. There are several parking lots you know you have like ah the centennial bank or. Ah, metro square, the old Chicago parking lot, the old Chicago restaurant parking lot, the Centennial Bank A Bank of America building is right there with a big parking lot. Um, so there’s a lot of different parking lots around downtown and most of those actually fall outside of the festival area. Um.

34:34.60

tejones

1 good.

34:36.67

Mary Margaret

Now some of them do um work with local nonprofits to do kind of like a ah pay to park top situation. Um, you’ll see people parking kind of behind the courthouse Again, there’s some parking lots that way and then also kind of on some of the side streets around that way.

34:40.38

tejones

Ah, right.

34:53.10

tejones

Here back in the west side. There’s a number of churches and if I remember a lot of them will make their parking lot available. They may I don’t know if they best bring some cash in case somebody charges for parking I Guess you should say.

34:55.19

Mary Margaret

Um, yes.

35:05.26

Mary Margaret

It is and I’ll say when they charge for parking. It’s not, you’re not paying like Simmons bank arena parking you know $20 parking rates I mean I want to say it’s usually probably like ten dollars I’m going to guess most of them are gonna do.

35:12.63

tejones

Right.

35:23.54

Mary Margaret

Um, I will say there are a few parking lots of smaller businesses that maybe have smaller parking lots that are downtown that do kind of break their parking lots off for their customers to use only things of that nature and.

35:27.74

tejones

Yeah.

35:33.71

tejones

Bright.

35:37.51

Mary Margaret

You know I ask anybody coming down to please be respectful of that. We want to be respectful of all of our downtown businesses. Um, you know it’s It’s hard to have a festival come in and kind of take over your area for a weekend and um. You know they are very supportive and they are very involved in the festival. There are several downtown businesses that are gonna have booths at the festival as well as have their stores opened to really take advantage of that crowd. Um, but we like to still be respectful to them and if they’ve put up some kind of no parking or something we ask that people don’t park there.

36:01.50

tejones

Right.

36:12.30

Mary Margaret

Um, but yeah I mean there are parking lots around there are like you said to the west of the court and to the festival in the courthouse. There’s some church parking. Lots back there. The Methodist Church I think first baptist is back there but there also ends up being some side streets. That is more residential that some people will park back there but it does it. It gets crazy busy to find a parking spot down here and get your walking shoes on just to come around the festival. I mean um to make that loop through the arts and crafts area.

36:36.72

tejones

Yeah, and get your walking shoes on take Oh yeah.

36:48.52

Mary Margaret

And then make another loop through the food area and then maybe take some time walking through Tinker fest and toad total kid zone and stand in line for our toad race and you’ll be on your feet for a lot of the day trying to and just see everything.

37:00.34

tejones

Yeah, yeah, now there will be seating at the main stage but it’s limited so and some people will bring their own lawn chairs or whatever they call those and absolutely feel free to do that I saw a lot of that when Steve Earl heard they had to.

37:09.15

Mary Margaret

Hideous. Yeah, and there’s no rule against that. We Love people to bring their own chairs. There’s no problem with that at all. Um to if you have kids, the total kid Zone is a great place to kind of take a break.

37:20.50

tejones

You know, right.

37:27.79

tejones

A.

37:30.40

Mary Margaret

That’s the courthouse lawn. So there’s some grass there. There’s some kind of playground equipment for the kids to play on So there’s bleachers out there so you can take a seat and kind of rest up a little bit there if you have really young children and you know maybe they are a mom that’s nursing or a baby with a diaper. There’s a.

37:37.88

tejones

There.

37:49.38

Mary Margaret

Ah, station there in that area to help with that and to have kind of a docker changing station and things of that nature. So that’s available there. Um, so yeah I mean there’s bleachers at Towdome. You can take a rest there and watch them race for a little bit and. There’s places to sit but we can bring your own. No big deal.

38:08.47

tejones

Yeah, very good I’m looking forward to it again after again since we hadn’t had in a couple years and if you’re new to conway I urge you to check it out at least come down on Saturday and listen to some of the music that’s always fun, but there’s so much to do at the at the toad suck daze.

38:14.20

Mary Margaret

This is.

38:28.41

tejones

Ah, probably the most unique name for a festival in the world and I really and.

38:30.86

Mary Margaret

I was gonna say I go so I said that I work with the Arkansas Festival Association but I also do things with the international festival association and so it’s always fun to go to that conference because in Arkansas everybody kind of knows tudsu days.

38:40.12

tejones

M.

38:46.98

tejones

Right.

38:49.10

Mary Margaret

And but when I go to that conference and we do awards ceremonies and things like that and toad suck daze wins you kind of get these looks like is that really the name of that festival and I’m like ah yeah, we have a weird name. It is.

38:58.98

tejones

Yes. But it’s memorable. So yeah, but if you’re winning Awards I can definitely pick their answerches I’m sure.

39:07.87

Mary Margaret

And they always want to hear more and find out what we do.

39:14.64

Mary Margaret

Yeah, yeah.

39:17.61

tejones

Well hey Mary I Appreciate you coming on and talking about it and you know just letting us know what’s going on and I thought it was best just to get the person who’s in charge of it all to come talk to us and that would be the best source of information for us.

39:30.88

Mary Margaret

Well thank you for having me on. I always like talking about toad suck daze.

39:34.53

tejones

Yeah I have figured that one out over the last couple years like yeah, she’s into the toad suck. But that’s great anyway, thanks for coming on and we’ll be seeing you in a couple weeks when it’s time for the toad suck daze.

39:48.85

Mary Margaret

All right? Great! Thank you so much.

.
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