CONWAY, Ark – Officials say that at least six people were injured following a large toad stampede in Conway this morning.
The stampede took place at the annual Toad Suck Daze festival in downtown Conway. Witnesses tell us that the amphibians broke through the holding pen used for the festival’s toad races.
“We had just arrived at the festival, stopped to buy a tshirt, and were about to cross the railroad tracks to see the tricycle races when we heard people screaming,” festival goer Betty Jean Fisher tells us. “There were hundreds of these big frogs hopping everywhere. People were running for their lives. We saw one man fall down and a frog jumped on his head. Sure hope he does not get any warts on his nose.”
Medical officials from Conway Regional Hospital assured attendees that the toads are not able to transmit the virus that causes warts. Still four of the injured individuals sustained their injuries while fleeing due to concern of warts.
Another individual received injuries while practicing his hammer dance for the MC Hammer concert later that night, during which he tripped over a large toad. The final individual was trampled by a swarm of at least 40 toads for unknown reasons.
“We really have never seen an issue like this at Toad Suck Daze,” said Conway Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Brad Lacy. “In the 33 years of the festival this is the first toad related injury we have had. We unfortunately have not been able to catch the killer toads, so we are urging everyone in the immediate area to use extreme caution outdoors this weekend.”
Conway animal control, the game and fish commission, and a number of area cajun restaurants are leading recovery efforts for the escaped toads.
The festival announced that they plan to set up toad buck donations for the victims and their families. “We want to do what we can to support the victims and their families by offering opportunities to purchase food and official souvenirs with the non-refundable Toad Bucks,” Lacy says.