CONWAY, Ark. (Oct. 27, 2016) — Toad Suck Daze received top honors for its children’s programming and volunteer program during the 61st annual International Festivals & Events Association’s 2016 Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is part of IFEA’s annual convention, expo, and retreat held this year in Tucson, Arizona.
Toad Suck Daze took home the Gold Pinnacle Award in the categories of “Best Children’s Programming,” “Best Volunteer Program,” and “Best Newspaper Insert/Supplement.”
“A core value of Toad Suck Daze is to provide a family friendly festival with an emphasis on activities for children of all ages, so we’re honored to receive the Gold award for Best Children’s Programming,” said Mary Margaret Satterfield, director of events and Toad Suck Daze at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. “This makes the fourth year IFEA has recognized Toad Suck Daze for our children’s programming, winning Gold in 2011 and 2014 and Silver in 2013.”
The Walmart Toad Dome and the Conway Regional Health System/Smith Ford Toadal Kids Zone are specific areas of the festival dedicated to children’s activities, ranging from the World-Famous Toad Races at the Toad Dome to live performances and hands-on activities at the Toadal Kids Zone. Activities for children are scattered throughout the festival grounds and, in some cases, occur prior to the festival.
Toad Suck Daze also earned a Gold award for its volunteer program. For its first 10 years, the festival was organized exclusively by a volunteer committee before becoming part of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce in 1992. Although paid staff members are now responsible for organizing the festival, Satterfield said volunteers remain a fundamental part of Toad Suck Daze during the three-day weekend and throughout the year.
“This year, approximately 250 committee members, festival volunteers, and members of volunteer groups dedicated a combined total of 4,200 volunteer hours over a three-day period,” she said. “Our 60-person committee works year-round to plan Toad Suck Daze and around-the-clock during the festival weekend. We wouldn’t be able to put the festival on without all of our volunteers.”
A newspaper insert produced in conjunction with the Log Cabin Democrat earned the festival its third Gold award in 2016. The 32-page, full-color publication was distributed in printed issues of the Log Cabin Democrat and featured information about concessions, toad races, entertainment, and other attractions.
Toad Suck Daze also earned Silver and Bronze awards for its food and beverage program, T-shirt design, Facebook page, and sponsorship opportunities for Walmart and Cherokee Casino and Hotel Roland. It received Silver Pinnacle Awards in the “Best T-shirt Design,” “Best Targeted Sponsorship Proposal,” and “Best Food and Beverage Program” categories and Bronze awards in the “Best Social Media Site” and “Best Single New Sponsorship Opportunity” categories.
The Pinnacle Awards draw entries from among the world’s top festivals and events. Toad Suck Daze’s budget category put it in competition with festivals in Tulsa, Oklahoma; St. Louis, Missouri; Fort Myers, Florida; and Charlotte, South Carolina. Winning entries came from organizations as diverse as the St. Louis Art Fair; the Fiesta Bowl in Scottsdale, Arizona; the International Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.; the Pasadena Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California; Memphis in May International Festival in Memphis, Tennessee; and Celebrations Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
International contenders included such diverse event organizations as Destination NSW in Sydney, Australia; Ludwig Van Beethoven Easter Festival in Krakow, Poland; Cuckoo Events in Dublin, Ireland; Rotterdam Festivals in Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Festival Lent in Maribor, Slovenia; and the Boryeong Mud Festival in Boryeong, South Korea.
“It is an honor to represent Toad Suck Daze on an international stage at IFEA and to learn best practices from world-renowned festivals,” said Satterfield. “It is also encouraging to see that while we can always improve, we have an award-winning festival here in Faulkner County that we can be proud of.”