The place where Mayberry comes to life will host its 24th annual Mayberry Days festival this Sept. 26-29.
The festival celebrates all things Mayberry in Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy. There will be guest appearances from actors on The Andy Griffith Show and a bluegrass concert honoring musician Doug Dillard, who played one of the “Darling Boys” on several episodes.
A special highlight this year is the donation to the Andy Griffith Museum of a jumpsuit worn by actor George Lindsey (also known as Goober). Lindsey wore the jumpsuit on the show while working at Wally’s Service Station. The garment will be presented by George Lindsey Jr. during the mayor’s proclamation on Friday.
Another Friday highlight is Karen Knott’s show “Tied Up in Knotts” at the Earle Theatre.
“Karen shares family photos and behind-the-scenes stories of what it was like growing up with Don Knotts as her dad,” said Mayberry Days coordinator Tanya Jones. “It’s a great show and has sold out every year.”
The festival is a combination of free and ticketed events over four days, and Jones said sales for the ticketed events are ahead of last year’s pace.
“We’ve see growth every year since the festival started. People come for the place and the atmosphere,” said Jones. “It’s all ages. I think Mayberry is timeless. It epitomizes Americana and is being passed on from generation to generation.”
The lineup of show actors is once again led by Mount Airy resident Betty Lynn. Lynn, who played Barney Fife’s sweetie Thelma Lou, moved to Mount Airy in 2007 and welcomes the following cast members: Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling); James Best (Jim Lindsey); Morgan Brittany (Opie’s girlfriend Mary Alice Carter); Peggy McCay (Sharon DeSpain); and Margaret Kerry, who played two roles as Helen Scoby and Bess Muggins.
Also appearing will be Leroy McNees and Roland White. Both appeared in an episode as musicians in the band The Country Boys, and White will lead Friday’s musical tribute to Doug Dillard at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
The annual golf tourney on Thursday has been renamed the Emmett Forrest Mayberry Days Golf Tournament to pay tribute to Andy’s lifelong friend who died in January.
Forrest spent more than a quarter century collecting much of the memorabilia for the Andy Griffith Museum and his name was the inspiration for the owner of Emmett’s Fix-It Shop on the show.
Other activities include Saturday’s popular Mayberry Days Parade, plus various contests such as checkers, Mayberry trivia, an apple peel-off, and a pork chop sandwich eating contest.
Fans also enjoy interacting with tribute artists like Mayberry Deputy David Browning, and going to the annual meeting of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club.
For a full schedule of events and more details on Mayberry Days, call 786-7998, or go to: www.mayberrydays.org.