LeRoy McNees, who is traveling around the country with his wife, Janice, said he wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
“I’m excited. It’s like a family reunion. I’ve made so many friends here over the years, and I’m looking forward to making some new ones,” McNees said during the soiree last night.
He and his wife host the Mayberry Chapel Service on Sunday for the last day of Mayberry Days. That event starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Blackmon Amphitheatre. He is planning a special show for the Mayberry Days Golf Tournament and Awards Ceremony at Cross Creek Country Club today starting at 6 p.m. He said he brought two friends with him, Craig Wilson, who plays mandolin, and Yvonne Tater, who plays bass. He will also be accompanied by Vip Vipperman, Rick Pardue and Buddy Griffith.
“We are going to have fun,” McNees said. “The band is going to be great.”
Maggie Peterson-Mancuso, who played Charlene Darling on TAGS, said she feels a special energy when she visits Mount Airy.
“It’s the whole atmosphere. Everybody here is so wonderful. It’s like the whole town gives you a great big hug,” Peterson-Mancuso said.
George Spence has been coming to Mayberry Days for the past 15 years.
“I wouldn’t miss it. It’s my mountain home. I’m delighted to be here,” Spence said.
Betty Lynn, who portrayed Thelma Lou and now resides in Mount Airy, greeted everyone from Mayor Jack Loftis to Mayberry Days newcomer Karen Knotts, the daughter of actor Don Knotts, who played the role of Barney Fife.
“It’s nice to see people I haven’t seen in a while. Tanya and Hobart have such a wonderful home. It’s so wonderful to be here tonight,” Lynn said.
Jones said she is excited that Mayberry Days has grown so much through the years.
“Our first Mayberry Days, Doug Dillard came. Now, look how many celebrities are coming back year after year. I never imagined we would get anyone else to come. But now they all look forward to it. It’s like a big family reunion.”
Contact Mondee Tilley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.