MY DAD—the human incarnation of the dad joke—loves to tell me, “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.” It’s an upside-down adage that works especially well for my life in Conway, not just because Conway is home to Toad Suck Daze (the annual community music, arts and food festival held downtown for nigh three decades), but also because my time here has been, well, fun. It was three years ago to the month that I first explored my actual hometown for this magazine, working to see it all as a newcomer—even though I’d already lived there for a year and a half. Now that I’ve been here 4 1/2 years, it seems like I truly have soothed my itchy feet and laid down some roots for a change. And the town itself has changed almost as much as I have.
Conway, Three Ways
Feed Your Body
Conway is largely driven by the three colleges it boasts—the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College and Central Baptist College—and there’s one thing everyone knows college students like to do: EAT. As such, Conway has new eateries popping up all the time. Whether it’s Katmandu Momo for Asian or Poke Hula for Hawaiian or Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers for—you guessed it!—some frozen custard and a burger (their vegetarian patty is legit), there are plenty of new restaurants vying to fill your belly.
Feed Your Brain
I’ve always been drawn to my local library—from the readings my Creative Writing MFA program hosted there to the Urban Farm Project out back—but recently my oldest, Avery, has become involved with the library’s TAC (Teens Advocating Change) program, where local teenagers get together to plan and coordinate youth programs. They’ve written and hosted an original Mystery Night and, most recently, created a Stuffed Animal Sleepover, where little ones (including my youngest) brought their furry friends to a special storytime, then left them to their own devices overnight—with photographic results given to the kids the next day. Let’s just say Giraffey—and you—can have the time of your life at the Conway Public Library. (conway.fcl.org)
Feed Your Soul
Theater was a big part of Conway three years ago and, today, seems like it’s even bigger. The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre’s company of artists won seven Broadway World Arkansas Awards and just hosted its annual Bard Ball, a fundraiser for the nonprofit theater company, which, this year, featured entertainment by Hamilton star and AST alum Fergie L. Philippe; and AST announced its upcoming season, which includes Shakespeare blockbusters such as Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, as well as the modern favorite Guys and Dolls. But AST isn’t the only theater on the menu. The Red Curtain Theatre has also come to the forefront of community theater with a 2019 season that comes on like gangbusters. Matilda the Musical, Singin’ in the Rain and Chicago: High School Edition promise to tickle the fancies of every age group imaginable. Too bad you missed my husband as Uncle Fester in Red Curtain’s The Addams Family a couple of years ago. With that light bulb in his mouth, he was electrifying. (arkshakes.com; redcurtaintheatre.com)
Read the original story at arkansaslife.com/conway