MOUNT AIRY, N.C. — Mount Airy, NC is gearing up for the 32nd annual Mayberry Days Festival.
The town, which served as inspiration for Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show, embraces that role with a variety of events. There are autograph sessions with actors from the show, trivia contests, a celebrity dinner at the local country club, live music, and tours of the Andy Griffith Museum and Andy Griffith Playhouse.
There are also competitions inspired by specific episodes of the show, including apple peeling, pickle tossing, and pie eating. Karen Knotts performs “Tied Up in Knotts,” a tribute to her late father, Don Knotts, who played the role of Deputy Barney Fife, while Ronnie Schell, who appeared on both The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, USMC, will share his memories of Griffith, Knotts and Jim Nabors.
Other activities include the Mayberry Days Parade, Colonel Tim’s Talent Time variety show, and the annual meeting of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club.
Actors scheduled to appear include Betty Lynn, who played Barney Fife’s girlfriend Thelma Lou and now lives in Mount Airy, Clint Howard (who played Leon), Calvin Peeler (Martin), Rodney Dillard (one of the Darling Boys), Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins, Helen Scoby), Dennis Rush (Howie Pruitt) and Joy Ellison, who played five different characters as a young girl.
“Mayberry Days has become a reunion of like-minded people who share a love for The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry and simpler times,” says organizer Tanya Jones of the Surry Arts Council. “So many people, young and old, travel here from across the country to be part of it.”
Jones and her team are following state and federal guidelines for Covid safety and monitoring things as they change.
“Right now, everything is on go,” Jones said. “The logistical challenge is the autograph sessions with special guests. These will take place outside, weather permitting, or spread out among various indoor locations if inclement weather arises.”
Mayberry Days consists of free events and ticketed events. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 336-786-7998 or visit: www.mayberrydays.org.