Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Festival Name Not So Awful

(The second installment in my commentary on a local controversy...)

By Deana Nall
The Baytown Sun
Printed on April 20, 2005

Dear Out-of-Town Visitors to the Baytown Long Neck Festival:

Well, I hope you didn't buy your Baytown Long Neck Festival T-shirts yet.
Because it's not the Baytown Long Neck Festival anymore. To help straighten out that unseemly beer connotation, the event is now being called the Baytown Long Neck Wildlife Festival.
Yes, the new name is a mouthful and a little difficult to say. But please don't let that leave you with the impression that you shouldn't attend Baytown's first-ever festival, or that the organizers and our city leaders failed "Festival-Naming 101."
We've just had a bit of a bumpy start. The May 13-15 event will feature fun activities for the whole family, including a Wild Game Cook-Off. If you've never eaten roasted squirrel, this is your big chance.
I realize that like "Long Neck," the word "Wildlife" can also have a double meaning. But, in this context, rest assured that "wildlife" refers to something you would find at the Baytown Nature Center and not at some fraternity house. Repeat after me: Birds, not beer.
And to be honest, Baytown doesn't have it that bad as far as festivals go. We could be like Crystal Beach, which hosts the Texas Crab Festival every April. During this event, some poor young woman is voted Miss Crab Legs. If I were to win such a title, I'd go home, cry and wear long pants every day for the rest of my life.
Let's also thank our lucky stars that Baytown isn't hosting the Onion Festival, like Noonday, Texas, does; or the Hushpuppy Olympics, held annually in Lufkin.
But nobody has it as bad as Nederland, Colo. This is where "Frozen Dead Guy Days" are celebrated every winter.
The festival is held in honor of, well, a frozen dead guy. He was found in someone's Tuff Shed in 1994. Die-hard (sorry) participants compete for bragging rights in the Coffin Races and the Polar Plunge. The event also offers a parade and tours of the famed Tuff Shed. I would go into more detail, but you wouldn't believe me. You can read about it for yourself (and order a "Frozen Dead Guy" T-shirt) at
Not to worry. You'll find no frozen dead guys at the Baytown Long Neck Wildlife Festival. (At least I hope not.) Or Onion Queens or women sporting crab legs. We will, however, have food, live entertainment and lots of stuff for the kids.
So whether "wildlife" to you means a flock of egrets gracefully taking to flight over a tranquil swamp, or your Cousin Ned stumbling around after a few too many Shiner Bocks, come on out to the Baytown Long Neck Wildlife Festival. We'll have something for everyone.
And if the roasted squirrel doesn't sell, we could have "Frozen Dead Squirrel Days" in 2006. Count me in. And save me a T-shirt.
Meanwhile, logon to and plan your trip. We'd love to see you here. Whatever the heck we're calling this thing.


Deana Nall

Deana Nall's column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is


  • At Wed Apr 20, 07:43:00 AM, Blogger Keith Brenton said…

    I don't think anything can top (or would it be 'bottom'?) Conway, Arkansas' annual Toadsuck Daze in the "Festival Naming 101" finals.

    Although Clute's Great Texas Mosquito Festival comes pretty close.

  • At Thu Apr 21, 10:30:00 AM, Blogger SJ said…

    Hang on just a minute. I personally think Toad Suck Festival beame so popular because it has such a crazy name. In case you are wondering, here is the legend:
    What the HECK does Toad Suck Mean?
    Well, The answer is quite Simple ...
    Long ago, steamboats traveled the Arkansas River when the water was at the right depth. When it wasn't, the captains and their crew tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock and Dam now spans the river.

    While they waited, they refreshed themselves at the local tavern there, to the dismay of the folks living nearby, who said: "They suck on the bottle 'til they swell up like toads." Hence, the name Toad Suck. The tavern is long gone, but the legend and fun live on at Toad Suck Daze.

    We are proudly celebrating our 23rd Annual Toad Suck Daze at the end of the month. Is is fun, I promise. This is your personal invitation to visit.

  • At Fri Apr 22, 07:27:00 AM, Blogger Keith Brenton said…

    All right, Sue; you've convinced me. Conway is just up the pike from Little Rock a few miles and I'll be there.

    Since I can't come to Baytown for bird-watching!

  • At Sun Apr 24, 03:28:00 PM, Blogger Julia Nall said…

    Well, Mom, I hope your voice is feeling better soon. I also hope you're getting better nights with Jenna so you can sleep more. And I just want to say hi, too. Well, bye!


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