Mayberry Days fans got a treat Friday morning at the official opening ceremony that was held in the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Mayberry Deputy David Browning was the emcee for the event and introduced all of the visiting celebrities to the crowd.
Doug Dillard, who played Jebbin Darling on The Andy Griffith Show, said he’s been coming to Mayberry Days since it began 22 years ago.
“I’ve been here since the first time. It’s been such a pleasure. The Andy Griffith Show was one of the finest shows ever. It’s good to be here. I love y’all,” said Dillard.
Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling on the show, said she wanted to thank the man who made Mayberry Days possible.
“If it weren’t for him, none of us would be here. Thanks to Andy Griffith,” said Peterson.
Actor James Best, who played Jim Lindsey on the show, said he loved working on the show because of its values.
“It was a good clean moral show and I thank God for that,” said Best.
Ronnie Schell, who was featured on two different episodes of the show, reminded everyone that his one-man show would be at 4 o’clock on Friday, which has been the running joke through all of the Mayberry Days programs.
“It’s a pleasure to be here,” said Schell.
His son Greg Schell, who debuted his documentary on the 50th anniversary of The Andy Griffith Show after his father’s show yesterday, told the crowd that he “appreciated the excruciating gentility” he has been experiencing while in town.
Elizabeth McRae, who appeared in a couple of episodes of theshow, reminded everyone that Ronnie Schell’s show was going to be at 4 o’clock. She said coming to Mayberry Days is like coming home for her. The Fayetteville native said her favorite thing to eat in the whole world is grits and she couldn’t talk her husband into eating them.
Margaret Kerry, who was on the episode, “Andy Forecloses,” said the first time she came to Mayberry Days last year was filled with love and kindness. She said on her second trip back it’s been a personal experience for her.
“You may have to put up with me next year. God Bless,” said Kerry.
LeRoy McNees asked the crowd how many of them would rather be in the finest hospital in North Carolina rather than at Mayberry Days.
“I’m so glad to be here. This is my eighth time,” said McNees. He is the preacher for the Mayberry Days Chapel on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. He said he had it on the highest authority that there would be sunshine Sunday morning.
George Lindsey Jr., whose father played Goober Pyle on the show, said his father had come to a Mayberry Days years ago and was so well received that he wanted to come this year.
“I’m a rookie here at Mayberry Days. Yes, my dad is Goober, so I’m part Pyle,” said Lindsey.
George Spence said it was great to be at Mayberry Days this year.
“It’s great to be anywhere,” said Spence, who reminded everyone to go see Ronnie Schell’s show at 4 o’clock.
“Come see the rest of us if you will please,” said Spence.
Bruce Bilson asked the crowd if they could all understand his accent.
“While working on The Andy Griffith Show, I learned that good had two syllables. Fifty two years ago, I was unemployed when I started working on a new show, called The Andy Griffith Show. In 2011, it’s good to be alive much less see Main Street, Mayberry. I used to populate the streets of Mayberry with extras. I hired the people that nobody else wanted. I hired Lucille Ball’s stand in. I’ll tell you all about it, but not at 4 o’clock today,” said Bilson, who will be featured during Professor Brower’s Lecture today at 2 p.m. at the Earle Theatre.
Mayberry Deputy David Browning introduced this year’s Potato Queen Traci Hamilton.
“She’s a tall tater. It’s a shame that she couldn’t bring her boy Spud,” said Browning.
Hamilton said she felt honored to be this year’s Potato Queen.
“I like mashed potatoes. I like Idaho potatoes,” said Hamilton.
“Yes, she does have a peel,” said Browning with a wide smile.
Mayor Deborah Cochran, who was last year’s Potato Queen, said this year they wanted to have a taller, thinner Potato Queen.
After the mayor read a proclamation declaring this year’s Mayberry Days officially open, she presented Bilson with a key to the city. He immediately asked for the address to the bank.
Mayberry Days events will continue today at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the Blackmon Amphitheatre and at the Earle Theatre. A Mayberry Days parade will be on Main Street starting at BB&T at 9 a.m. and then ending at the playhouse.
Today at the Dr. Robert Smith house, located at 615 N. Main St., Opie’s lemonade stand will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ernest T’s Dollar Dogs will be on sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the proceeds going to the Gallery Group Studio and Uptown Gallery. From 2 to 4 p.m., Miss Ellie’s homemade peach cobbler and ice cream will be served while it lasts and from 4 to 5 p.m. Ernest T’s Dollar dogs go back on sale. There will be music by Larry Davis from 1 to 3 p.m. and The Marshall Brothers and friends will be playing music from 3 to 5 p.m.
There is no charge for the lemonade and there is also free coffee. Guests are encouraged to tour the art gallery located in the Dr. Robert Smith house and the gardens behind the home. The Gertrude Smith House, at 708 N. Main St., also will be open for tours on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Contact Mondee Tilley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.