TOAD'S POISON: Bret Michaels, at Conway.

Poison’s lead singer, Bret Michaels, will perform Friday night as the headline music act at the annual, free Toad Suck Daze festival in downtown Conway. Plenty of activities are planned for children and adults over the three-day event.

The Build A Bear Workshop on Tour will be on site, and children and adults can enjoy a tricycle race, car show, toad races, pet show, Mardi Daze Parade, kids firefighter competition and more.


The Gettys, Further Down and Sharpe Dunaway and the Blue Meanies will open for Michaels on Friday on the main stage, with music starting at 5:30 p.m. Confederate Railroad and Sammy Kershaw are Saturday’s main-stage headliners. Christian contemporary acts Michael English and Avalon play Sunday afternoon.

The festival will be set up on Oak, Front, Main and Locust streets. Take exit 127 of Interstate 40 to downtown.


Newman in Eureka

Award-winning singer-songwriter and composer Randy Newman will perform in concert at Eureka Springs on Friday, May 4, as the city kicks off its month-long celebration of the arts.


Newman’s concert is at 8:30 p.m. at City Auditorium. Tickets are $48. Call 479-253-2586.

Other events this weekend include Art Car rallies Friday through Sunday; public interactive displays at the Auditorium parking lot on Saturday; art and music at Basin Park throughout Saturday; the ARTrageous Parade at 4 p.m. Saturday, featuring Art Cars, and followed by the Art Car Ball and music from eclectic Springfield, Mo., band Garbonzos; and the Art Car Rally starting at noon from Beaver Lake Dam and through town on Sunday morning.

On Sunday at the Crescent Hotel, area authors will gather for the annual Books in Bloom literary festival from noon to 6 p.m. Pat Carr, Andrei Codrescu, Jeffrey Deaver and Dana Stabenow are among the authors slated to attend. See for more information.

Arts in the Air


Families are invited for an “out of the ordinary” festival on Saturday at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain. The “Arts in the Air” Family Art Festival will run from the 9 a.m. registration to a free concert at night that concludes at 9 p.m.

Participants can choose among six hands-on workshops, participate in a public art project and carry off their own creation. The workshops, which run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., have a $15 free that includes lunch. A statewide student art contest awards ceremony is at 4 p.m.

Kick back and enjoy a Cinco de Mayo fajita dinner buffet overlooking Lake Abby from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (cost is $15 per person, $7.50 for children 6 and under). The salsa band Papa Rap and the MC’s will top off the day with a concert starting at 6 p.m.

The institute is off Highway 154 on top of Petit Jean Mountain. Take Interstate 40 to exit 108 at Morrilton, then travel the Highway 9 bypass south to Oppelo before turning right onto Highway 154 and following the road up the mountain. Call 501-727-6226 for more information.

Ranch Days

Put on your Western duds, bring the family and enjoy the third annual Ranch Days Festival at Stone Hill Ranch in Mayflower, running Friday through Sunday. Sanctioned chuck wagon races with up to 300 racers are planned for Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., a five-team Ranch Rodeo and barbecue cookoff is Friday night, Miss Ranch Days will be selected Saturday morning, live music will be performed nightly, and camping, trail rides, petting zoo and more family fun are available.

Admission is $10 per day for adults, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for children under 6. Take the 135 exit off Interstate 40 and travel a short distance south on Highway 365 to find the Stone Hill Ranch. For more information, visit or call 501-416-8267. Coolers and lawn chairs are permitted. More than 7,000 people attended last year. Gates open for campers and vendors on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and reopen at 9 a.m. Friday. The rodeo signup starts at 5 p.m., with competition starting at 6 p.m. Live music starts Friday at 6:30 p.m. and runs until midnight. On Saturday night, former Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase finalists Highway 5 and Riverbilly will perform.

Quick hits

An ensemble of Arkansas Chamber Singers will help celebrate the month of May, singing Shakespeare’s words set to music in “Hooray for May” on Thursday, May 3, at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Tickets are $60 and include drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Call 377-1121 … Terry Blaine, Mark Shane and Allan Vache bring a swinging Jazz Supper Club show to Wildwood Park on Friday with “Swingin’ the Benny Goodman Songbook.” The trio covers the Goodman classics from the classic jazz period. Dinner is at 7 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. Call 821-7275 for tickets and directions to Wildwood or visit … The Arkansas Arts Center’s Children’s Theatre debuts “The Secret Garden” this weekend. The play tells the story of an English girl who is orphaned by a cholera epidemic in India and is sent to live with a wealthy uncle and cousin in the Yorkshire Moors and discovers a place where she finds peace and inner strength. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; tickets are $14 for adults and $11 for children Call 372-4000 … Root for a horse in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and help three UAMS charities in the process. The fourth annual Julep Cup Jaunt will run from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the 12th floor of the Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute at UAMS. Tickets are $25; call 686-8099 … Camp Aldersgate’s Cinco de Mayo Dinner and Dance is Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mojo Depot will play from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., a buffet starts at 6 p.m. and art donated by the camp’s youths will be auctioned. Tickets are $5. Call 614-7020.