Andy Griffith sang a song about a Kickin’ Mule on one of his tapes. I didn’t see any
kickin’ (although I bet there was some!) but I saw plenty of mules at Mule Days at Heritage Park in Brent,
Alabama this past weekend. From mules on parade to mule drawn buggies, the day was all
about the quasi-equine, but there was more to Mule Days than just mules!
One annual event at Mule Days is the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals. This event draws
restored squad cars painted and fixed up like the one Andy and Barney drove on “The
Andy Griffith Show.” In honor of the Mayberry touch, the Grand Marshall of the parade
this year was Barney’s old squeeze, Thelma Lou, or Betty Lynn as she is known in real life.
She absolutely glowed as she officiated from her mule drawn cart and exclaimed sincerely
how thrilled she was to be there. “I am having the time of my life!” I heard her exclaim as
her buggy went by. Undaunted by the sporadic rains, Betty Lynn later appeared to sign
autographs for the crowd and had a gracious word for everyone.
There was more Mayberry to be found at Mule Days as impersonators were in abundance.
Allan Newsome as Floyd, and David Browning as Barney delighted the crowd with their
jokes and anecdotes. Otis, and Ernest T. were also on hand, in fact, Otis (Tuscaloosa’s Kenneth Junkin) appeared to be in
charge of the Mayberry activities!
There were several booths set up for food of all kind, and there were plenty of venders on hand to sell their wares. One booth was manned by TAGSRWC head Goober himself, Jim Clark, and sponsored by Weavers. It carried The Andy Griffith Show banner and was full of t-shirts, books, tapes, videos, caps, and other Mayberry memorabilia. Other booths featured jewelry, cowboy hats, Mary Kay cosmetics and other local merchants.
The squad cars were part of the parade and on display all day parked together in the middle
of the Mule Days field. Later they had a squad car racing competition, and the trophy presentation
seemed to be the signal for the rains, which had threatened us all day, to finally pour down bringing a soggy conclusion to a memorable day.
Related Stories & Links:
Thelma Lou Is Alabama Bound!
Andy Griffith Tells His Story
Christian Activities Mayberry Forum
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