Mayberry Days 2006 was held on Sept. 21, 22, 23 and 24, 2006 in Mt. Airy, N.C. Visitors from far and wide attended this year’s event, which included a mix of new and old, young and old, and famous and not-so-famous-yet.
Part of the fun (and the joy) of Mayberry Days is that for the most part, there is such a spirit of good will and friendliness amongst the visitors and townspeople. Those good old-fashioned wholesome values that made the Andy Griffith Show widely respected and a truly time-honored television tradition were greatly reflected in the face of many a Mayberry fan who traversed the streets of Mt. Airy during the four day event.
A highlight of the festival this year was the Dillards’ performance on Friday night at the Andy Griffith Playhouse. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a couple who had ridden with several others on a bus from Reading, PA just for the event. After a few introductory words, we immediately began exchanging favorite lines from the show and got to know one another a little better. The next day, while sitting at my very first book signing, the pair spotted me again and instantly inquired if I ‘was I the one that they sat next to the night before?’ The atmosphere of friendliness and joy over such a commonality seems to pervade the air and indeed, it is quite contagious.
This year, the weather behaved (just like Andy taught Opie to do) and we had four days of partly cloudy, cool weather. Only briefly, was there a drop or two of rain, and the heat didn’t stay around for long, either.
The fine weather was perfect for Saturday’s parade, a wonderment of all things Mayberry, from squad car replicas, the ‘many faces of Barney Fife,’ Mayberry tribute artists, including Allan Newsome as Floyd, David Browning as Barney, Kathryn Darden as Flora the service station gal, Dennis Beal as Mr. Schwump, Chevy Anz as the fun girl Daphne, Tim Pettigrew as Goober and a quite convincing Ernest T. Bass. Ernest T. was quite convincing, even if he had bricks instead of rocks, and Goober did make me think of my car (or cars, in general) more than once. They all were hits with all of the crowds.
The restaurants were equally enjoyable. I took in some of the atmosphere of Mayberry at the Blue Bird Diner, with their famous Carolina Burger with lots of greens, on the first day. The next, I went to ‘the outskirts’ and tried the dinner special at the Derby, a unique diner which used to feature a hat shaped service station out front.
Other attractions included Wally’s Station, which also sold curios; close by were simulated Sherriff’s office, jail, Emmett’s, Foley’s, and other Mayberry shop fronts.
The most memorable part of this year’s event was probably Betty Lynn’s interview at the downtown cinema. This wonderful actress sure has lots of kindness and charm. I was so touched and pleased to see that she wanted to be there and made the extra effort to do so. She made quite a splash, during the parade, in her hot pink roadster, earlier in the day.
Being a participant in the The Mayberry Poem – A Tribute to Mayberry book signing at Page’s Books on Main Street was unforgettable. The staff were all so courteous, and Kathryn was so hospitable and kind to ask me to be a part of it. Meeting fans of Mayberry, and poetry in general, was a real treat.
If you’re planning a trip to Mayberry Days next year, I would recommend booking a room early to have to the best choice. Parking isn’t a problem, and the folks are real glad you came. I mentioned this to my church group, who hadn’t heard of Mayberry Days. Now we’re convinced that a train trip there next year would be a grand idea! I wonder if we would take the line that goes ‘just out of town.’ That’s the one where Barney found all of that loot, ‘that one time.’
Finally, be double sure to stop by the visitor’s center. I didn’t get a chance to this year, but I’ve stopped there during every other trip there, and the folks are really friendly there. I’ve had word that the impressive Andy Griffith collection, which had occupied the visitor’s center for years, has now vacated the premises. Hopefully this truly impressive collection can see the light of day once more!
Read more about this year’s Mayberry Days at: The Other Side of Mayberry
Find great holiday gifts at The Mayberry General Store
Order The Mayberry Poem – A Tribute to Mayberry
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