This years Toadsuck Daze festival was probably the best one I can ever remember attending. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never attended a bad one, each year seems to outperform previous years, but there was just something special about this year. The entertainment was top-notch w/ Mac Powell from Third Day, Sawyer Brown, and of course the headliner was MC Hammer. It’s worth noting that the Conway Chamber of Commerce and their legion of volunteers always do a phenomenal job managing this event.
One of the complaints early on by a few people was that there wasn’t a “stuck on the truck” competition, personally I didn’t even realize it was gone until someone told me. I just can’t make myself watch something like that, and I know I’m probably weird, I can’t hardly watch Golf either so seeing someone w/ their hand stuck to a truck until they pass out just isn’t my thing.
The Pleth sponsored w/ .buzz this year and featured MC Hammer as our guest judge to evaluate the 10 startups. When I say startups, I should probably emphasize that a lot of these startups are already established and doing business. The presenters included:
- PBX or Passenger Baggage Xpress: a mobile app that facilitates direct communication between airlines and passengers to increase efficiency of airline baggage operations.
- Bourbon & Boots: an online showcase of medium to small vendors who create “a unique Southern experience.”
- DataRank: an easy to use integrated analytics dashboard for analyzing all of the online conversations relevant to your business.
- Treatsie: an assortment of high-end artisan sweets delivered in a monthly subscription box.
- Overwatch: an app and hardware accessories that bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor gaming with the use of GPS radar, voice chat and In-Game Perks.
- Eyenalyze: a management portal that enables independent restaurants to pull point of sale data in real time like a chain restaurant.
- Pocket Dealership: an app that provides consumers an easier way to communicate with car dealerships through the use of push notifications for service and digital records.
- Talentt: an app that connects businesses to talented freelancers in their area.
- ARFoodJobs.com: a job-listing site specifically for Arkansas’ growing culinary and hospitality industry.
The winner of the $15k prize was ARFoodJobs.com.
Later that evening we all made our way downtown to see MC Hammer perform, and trust me it was one performance that I won’t soon forget! There are still a lot of people that can’t look at me without laughing. One of Hammer’s dancers, AKA “Dirty Bread” jumped off the stage at one point during the performance and caught me off-guard as I was videoing one of my friends kids on stage dancing w/ Hammer. She straddled me for a brief second as I leaned back into the guard rail in front of the stage that seperated the fans from the stage and she proceeded to do whatever dance it was they were doing. I couldn’t move, partially because I was caught off guard and partially because I was praying nobody saw what was happening because I’d never live it down. haha. After the show was over she came over and was laughing about how she caught me off-guard and that I looked like a deer in the headlights. It was an amazing time.
During his performance MC Hammer took time out to say a prayer of hope for our community and then broke out into one of his signature songs, ‘Pray’, from the ‘Hammer, Don’t Hurt Em’ LP –the same cassette I used to keep w/ me for blasting at high levels on the weekends in the 80’s while we cruised Cherry Street. I have to say that not only was MC Hammer a class act, he was also a nice guy when it came to taking photos w/ the fans, etc., at one point during the startup competition he even got on the ground and played w/ Travis Taylor, our GM’s, son’s truck and yelled “Hammer Time!” as he spun it around. It was so funny watching some generations pick up on the joke and some not…
I didn’t get to spend as much time w/ Hammer as I would have liked, partially because the guy was constantly being slammed by his adoring fans that had driven to Central Arkansas from around the state, and I totally understand that. I have however made contact w/ his management team and have arranged to discuss some business w/ him in the future… stay tuned.
Photos from the event can be found here…
Questions or Comments?