Every year, the citizens of Conway, Arkansas, and the surrounding towns gather for one weekend to celebrate the Toad Suck Daze Festival. What is a Toad Suck Daze, exactly? According to the Festival website:
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 tavern is not only long gone—the whole county is now dry. But, yes, the legend and fun do live on. Photographs by Marc Smirnoff.