One Andy Griffith fan, Kenny Sohn of Elizabeth City, not only comes to Mayberry Days every year to enjoy the shows and see old friends, he comes to win.
Sohn was awarded the trophy again this year for eating the most pork chop sandwiches at Snappy Lunch. He ate four sandwiches within an hour. He will add the trophy he won on Friday to five others he has at home.
The Pork Chop Eating Contest has become a popular activity during Mayberry Days. The record for eating the most sandwiches is eight, according to Snappy Lunch owner Mary Dowell.
In 2010, Sohn said he was outdone by a women who downed five pork chop sandwiches.
After finishing the last bite of his fourth sandwich while sitting at the lunch counter, he took a moment out to remember those who were connected to Mayberry who died this year.
Andy Griffith died on July 3 at his home in Manteo, which is not far from Sohn’s home. He said he never met Griffith, but he sure would have liked to.
“Andy kept to himself. He just wanted to be treated like normal folks. I would like to have met Andy. I’m sad that we lost four staples of Mayberry,” said Sohn while speaking of the passing of Griffith, George Lindsey, Doug Dillard and Charles Dowell, the late owner of Snappy Lunch.
He said every year when he is getting ready to come to Mayberry Days, he tells people he is going to a family reunion. He said even though some of the greats are gone, the fans will keep Mayberry alive.
“Every year when I come here, I recognize people I’ve met here before. They feel like family,” said Sohn.
He came to Mayberry Days this year with his wife Bonita, his 23-year-old son and his two daughters, ages 5 and 3.
In addition to winning the Pork Chop Sandwich Eating Contest, Sohn has won the Goober Says Hay Bale Toss and the Apple Peeling Contest for two years.
Sitting beside Sohn at the counter was Bruce Theriault of Maine, who was enjoying eating his very first pork chop sandwich. He said he couldn’t compete with Sohn, so he just savored the sandwich that is topped with mustard, slaw, chili, onions and tomato. He said while in town visiting his son, he also got his haircut at Floyd’s Barber Shop.
Chris Copenhaver, Patrick Henderson, Jerry Scott and Sally McGuffin all ate pork chop sandwiches at Snappy Lunch for the contest as well. The most any of them could eat was two sandwiches.
“My friend said, “It’s a slice of heaven,”’ said Copenhaver.
He said he was also saddened by the passing of Griffith. He and his friends who are from Roanoke, Va., came to Mount Airy shortly after Griffith died.
“It’s good to see a renewed interest in the show,” said Copenhaver.
He said his little girls, ages 8, 6 and 4, were all watching the show when he left the house on Friday morning.
“They love Andy Griffith. I don’t even encourage them to watch it. They just like the show.”
Dowell said by 1 p.m. on Friday, between 300 to 400 sandwiches had been served.
Reach Mondee Tilley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.