Mount Airy, NC. It’s the childhood home of Andy Griffith and, many believe, the inspiration for the setting of The Andy Griffith Show – though some dispute that claim.
But that difference of opinion right there is a good enough reason to head off to Mount Airy next weekend, Sept. 22-25, for the annual Mayberry Days celebration and see for yourself.
The festival is held every September during the last full weekend of the month – and it is a blast!
There is plenty to do and see: barbeques, talents shows, parades, musical performances and even appearances by some of the stars of the show. This year, actress Betty Lynn, who played Barney’s girlfriend, Thelma Lou, as well as actor James Best, who portrayed guitar playing local boy, Jim Lindsey, will be there. Of course, Best is better known for his role as the bumbling country sheriff in The Dukes of Hazard TV show, but his appearances on The Andy Griffith Show were iconic.
Actress Maggie Peterson Mancuso will also be there. She, of course, played Charlene Darling – the feisty little blonde tomboy from the bluegrass playing, hillbilly family known to the world as The Darlings. In the show’s storyline, The Darlings often came down from the mountains to visit Mayberry along with Earnest T. Bass – which always stirred up life in the, otherwise, peaceful little town in which we all wished we had grown up.
In real life, the bluegrass playing brothers of the family were portrayed by musicians from The Doug Dillard Band. In fact, after the show ended production, Andy Griffith used to perform with the band on the road just as they did on the show. Of course, The Doug Dillard Band will be in town for some great bluegrass performances.
And speaking of Earnest T. Bass, the first Earnest Tee-off – as they like to say in Mount Airy – of the golf tournament happens on Thursday morning.
Events go on all weekend, rain or shine, ending Sunday with a gospel singing performance. In the meantime, you can visit the Andy Griffith Museum, take a ride in the sheriff’s car, eat at the diner or just people watch.
And it’s all family friendly.
You can get a lot of information by going to TwoChairsNoWaiting.com where Allan Newsome, Mount Airy resident and “Floyd the Barber” tribute artist hosts a podcast about Mount Airy, The Andy Griffith Show and the Mayberry Days festivities.
It will take about six hours to get to Mount Airy, NC from Johns Creek.
Just go over to I-85 North and travel through South Carolina into North Carolina. When you’re near Charlotte, NC, take Exit 30 – the Statesville exit – at the I-485 loop, then travel north on the loop until you reach Exit 23B – again, the Statesville exit – and merge with I-77 North. Travel north for 80 miles until you reach Exit 100 – the Mount Airy exit. Head east on West Pine Street/NC-89 East for 8 miles and you’re there.