CONWAY, Ark. (April 6, 2023) – Presenting sponsors Baptist Health and Chris Crain Hyundai and Crain Genesis of Conway today announced the details for the 42nd Annual Toad Suck Daze festival. Headline entertainment, changes to festival programming, and plans for $100,000 in charitable contributions were shared with community.
“Toad Suck Daze is an iconic event in central Arkansas,” said Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway President April Bennett. “Baptist Health is proud to join in and extend the festival’s mission of supporting and celebrating education, culture, and community.”
Festival sponsors Acxiom, Gainwell Technologies, and First Arkansas Bank & Trust joined in the presentation of $100,000 in charitable contributions. That is the largest amount of giving in five years. “Last year was an incredible success for the festival. We came back from a hiatus with new ideas and new energy,” said Conway Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Brad Lacy. “That success and the continued support of our sponsors set the table for the giving you see today.” Contributions announced on Thursday included:
- $15,000 to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library
- $20,000 to the Conway Downtown Partnership
- $4,000 to the Arkansas Shakespeare Theater
- $4,000 to the Conway Symphony Orchestra
- $4,000 to the Reynold Performance Main Stage Series
- $18,000 in college scholarships for Faulkner County students
Toad Suck Daze organizers say that there are more “sizeable contributions” to announce as the festival approaches.
“We’re not finished,” said Lacy. “We’re excited to continue telling the story of the festival’s mission in the coming weeks. Expect more giving that builds our region’s access to education and celebrates our culture and history.”
One announced change from past festivals is the Friday night headline entertainment. For the first time, the festival will feature a night of stand-up comedy. Nashville-based comedian, Dusty Slay, will headline the comedy lineup. Slay is the youngest comedian to ever perform on the legendary Grand Ole Opry stage in his adopted hometown of Nashville.
The breakout comedian has appeared on Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Featuring and is set for a third appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon this fall. Most recently, Dusty was featured on season 3 of Netflix’s The Stand Ups, which highlights new comedians at the top of their game. Comedians Justin Smith and Will O’Donnell will round out the show.
On Saturday, music returns as Grammy-nominated country singer-songwriter Hailey Whitters takes the stage.
The Iowa-born, Nashville-based rising Country star scored her breakthrough moment in 2020 with the release of her self-funded debut album THE DREAM, which was praised as “the year’s deepest country album” (The Washington Post) and went on to appear on more than 15 year-end best of lists including #1 on both Stereogum’s “10 Best Country Albums of 2020” and Garden & Gun’s “Best Southern Albums of 2020” list.
In 2021 alone, Whitters toured with Luke Combs and Midland, was named the inaugural Opry NextStage Artist of the year, scored her first CMT Music Award nomination for “Breakthrough Video of the Year” (“Fillin’ My Cup” feat. Little Big Town) and received her first GRAMMY nomination as a co-writer for Song of the Year for “A Beautiful Noise.” Her current single “Everything She Ain’t” is currently climbing the country charts
All festival entertainment is presented by Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland. The Conway Convention & Visitors Bureau is this year’s main stage sponsor.
Organizers say the 2023 festival programming is a combination of proven favorites and growth from some of Arkansas’s most trusted brands. “When you have the Museum of Discovery and ArkansasPBS providing content, you know visitors can count on a quality experience,” said Brett Berry, General Manager Chris Crain Hyundai. “The festival has traditions that are 40 years old and newer events that we’ll be doing 40 years from now. It really is an example of our community at its best.”
Toad Suck Daze will take place May 5th through May 7th in downtown Conway. Toad Suck Daze is presented by Baptist Health and Chris Crain Hyundai and Crain Genesis of Conway. For a full schedule of festival entertainment and other attractions, visit ToadSuck.org or Facebook.com/ToadSuckDaze.
About Toad Suck Daze
For more than 40 years, a central Arkansas festival with a quirky name has contributed more than $2 million to scholarships, scholarship endowments, preschool funding, and arts education. As Arkansas’s largest festival, Toad Suck Daze attracts more than 100,000 festivalgoers of all ages to downtown Conway the first weekend of May for national and local musical entertainment, food-on-a-stick, retail and arts-and-crafts vendors, and most notably, the World Championship Toad Races. For more information about Toad Suck Daze, visit toadsuck.org.