Toad Store grand opening is March 28

By Tammy Keith Originally Published March 21, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated March 20, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.
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Start pulling out the green. The Toad Store in Conway is about to open for business.

The grand opening will be at 2 p.m. March 28, said Mary Margaret Satterfield, director of events for the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce.

Each year, the old ice house on Oak Street in downtown Conway becomes the headquarters to buy toad paraphernalia.

At the opening, the Very Important Toads, including Toad Master Brian Ratliff, will dance the toady woady, per tradition.

Satterfield said the store will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day.

The official 2013 Toad Suck Daze T-shirts will be available for purchase in purple, red, green and heather gray.

“I think that it helps build the excitement to the festival,” Satterfield said of the store.

“You’re able to come in, get your T-shirt ahead of time and wear it out of town,” she said, to spread the word.

The 32nd annual Toad Suck Daze festival, to be held May 3-5 in downtown Conway, includes food, arts and crafts, carnival rides, a petting zoo, entertainment — and the famous toad races.

Michelle McKown, this year’s Toad Store chairwoman, said popular items will return, and new items have been ordered.

“We’ve got some great items for Easter baskets,” she said. “We’ve got some really cute, new stuffed animals for the kids.”

Bathtub toys are on the list for the tadpoles, too.

“We’ve got a lot of new baby stuff this year. We’ve got some really cute embroidered bibs coming in,” McKown said.

Satterfield said the

ever-popular infant onesies and toddler shirts will be available again.

New this year will be Toad Suck Daze windbreaker-type jackets, McKown said.

“We’re going to have visors for the ladies, more comfortable ones, to hopefully shade all the sun,” McKown said.

In the spirit of optimism for the festival weather, the store will also sell “really cool sunglasses to advertise Toad Suck Daze,” she said.

“We have a few little nicer items — some real nice-looking toad birdhouses. They’re kind of shaped like a big fat toad,” McKown said.

T-shirts and other items will be sold during the festival through mobile stores on the streets, too.

“We have more items than just T-shirts at the festival to bring in more proceeds that

ultimately end up going to education,” Satterfield said.

To date, more than $1.2 million has been raised for scholarships awarded to Faulkner County students who attend the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, Central Baptist College or the University of Central Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, according to the event’s website.

Even if shoppers don’t need another toad-themed item, the Toad Store is a popular

destination, McKown said.

“We have our book where everybody can kind of thumb through and see where people from different places have visited us,” she said.

More information is available at www.toadsuck.org. Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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