Looking Back: ‘Mayberry in Graysville’ 2005 Festival

July 29, 2006: 6th Annual Mayberry Squad Car Nationals in Graysville, Ala. Details TBA.

From our 2005 archives

On July 30, 2005, fans of Mayberry and racing will descend on this charming town northwest of Birmingham for the Fifth Annual Mayberry Squad Car Nationals, part of the first Mayberry in Graysville festival.
“We’re excited to bring the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals to our city as part of our first Mayberry in Graysville festival,” said Graysville Mayor Doug Brewer, who is also a longtime member of the Mayberry Minutemen chapter of “The Andy Griffith Show” Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC).
The daylong event will begin with a downtown parade at 10:00 a.m. The parade will feature replicas of Mayberry squad cars, Mayberry character “tribute artists,” an antique fire truck and various local entries.
The parade will be followed by the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals at 11:00 a.m. at the ballpark behind City Hall. For safety reasons, this year’s Nationals will be an obstacle course competition featuring a driver and a passenger in each vehicle. The drag-racing portion of the Nationals has been discontinued because the speeds of the cars were ruled to be getting too high by officials of MASCAR (Mayberry Authentic Squad Cars and Racing). The unique Mayberry obstacle course race generally involves each racer stopping along the way to bust up a moonshine still, replace a stop sign that has fallen down, and make a Mayberry-style arrest or two.
“It’s always a really fun race,” says Nationals organizer Kenneth Junkin, who is also a leader of Tuscaloosa’s “Hearty Eatin’ Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women” chapter of TAGSRWC. “Best of all,” Junkin added, “admission to the Nationals is free.”
After the racing, there will be time for lunch and shopping with friendly local merchants and Mayberry-style vendors in the downtown area.

At 2:00 p.m., there will be a free Mayberry Stage Show at Graysville’s air-conditioned Community Center (171 Second Street, SW). The show will feature a Mayberry Trivia Contest, an Opie Look-Alike Contest, a Mayberry Theme Song Whistling Contest, and Mayberry-related skits by character look-alikes.

Evening festivities kick off with a Spaghetti Dinner at 5:00 p.m. at the Graysville Community Center followed immediately by the Tip-Top Talent Show at 6:00 p.m. Talent for the show will include bands, Mayberry tribute artists, and local performers. A ticket including the dinner and show costs $10. Tickets are available through the Graysville City Hall at (205) 674-5643.

Renowned tribute artist David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning will be on duty throughout the day for added insecurity. Other Mayberry tribute artists on hand will include Jeff “Howard Sprague” Branch (Oakboro, N.C.), Jamie “Opie” Sullivan (Cowan, Tenn.) Mike “Wally” Darden (Nashville, TN), Kathryn “Flora” Darden (Nashville, TN) and Paul “Ernest T.” Babbs (Gordo).
It should be noted that Nationals organizer Junkin is himself a popular tribute artist who portrays Otis Campbell, Mayberry’s lovable town drunk. Junkin soberly said, “We’re delighted to be associated with the City of Graysville, which feels a lot like Mayberry to me.”
Mayberry Squad Car replicas from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and, believe it or not, from as far away as Illinois, and Ohio are expected to be racing in this year’s Nationals. Squad cars and drivers already committed are:
• *Kevin “Speed, Speed, Speed” Snead, a multiple Nationals champion, who is representing the host “Hearty Eatin’ Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women” chapter
• “Rockin’ Ricky” Carnes, a multiple showmanship winner, of Mayberry Squad Car chapter in Canton, Ga.
• Jan “Checkpoint Chickie” Newsome of Huntsville, Ala.
• “Flat-Out” Pat Coleman of Remembering Mayberry chapter in Chillicothe, Ohio
• Woody “No Brakes” Jacobs of Esquire Club chapter in Cullman, Ala.
• Joel “Mayberry Judge” Laird of Aunt Bee Haven chapter in Anniston, Ala.
• Bob “Pedal Masher” Matthews of Gadsden, Ala.
• Robert “The Dismantler” Shelby of Goober’s Auto Dismantling chapter in West Frankfort, Ill.
• Don “Kerosene Kid” Kernan of Oglesby, Ill.
Several other Mayberry squad cars are expected. Organizers are still waiting to see if any Mayberry squad cars from Tennessee—home of at least four Mayberry squad cars—will dare show up, as well as North Carolina, a state “eat up” with both auto racing and Mayberry squad cars.
Individuals who have Mayberry squad car replicas that they would like to race on the obstacle course, drive in the parade or just bring for display are invited to contact Kenneth Junkin at (205) 364-7727 for Nationals information or to reserve a racing spot. For more information about the Mayberry in Graysville festival, call the mayor’s office at (205) 674-5643.
The organizing sponsor of the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals is the “Hearty Eatin’ Men and Beautiful, Delicate Women” chapter of TAGSRWC. Sponsors this year include the City of Graysville and the worldwide organization of TAGSRWC. The host hotel for the Nationals is the Days Inn in Gardendale (205) 631-4815. (Mention “Graysville” to get the Nationals rate.)
Mark your calendar and get ready to start your engines as the Fifth Annual Mayberry Squad Car Nationals, with its lights flashing and sirens blaring, rolls into town for Mayberry in Graysville on July 30.
The 2006 Annual Mayberry Squad Car Nationals will take place on July 29, in Graysville, Ala. Details TBA.

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