The Annual Return to Mayberry
Updated: Sep 6
The North Carolina town that inspired the show celebrates native Andy Griffith.
Well, Barn, do you wish you could return to those slow-moving summer days fishing at the creek with a bottle of pop and a baloney sandwich? Do I hear whistling as you make your way to the water’s edge, fishing pole over your shoulder?
You don’t have to relegate your desire for an easier time in the old South to just watching “The Andy Griffith Show,” you can actually live them at the annual Mayberry Days Sept. 18-24, 2023, in Mount Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s hometown.
The town, which served as inspiration for Mayberry on “The Andy Griffith Show,” embraces that role with a variety of events, including autograph sessions with actors from the show, live music, pork chop sandwiches at Snappy Lunch, tossing rings at pickle jars, aka Aunt Bee’s kerosene cucumbers and tours of the Andy Griffith Museum and Andy Griffith Playhouse. Activities, contests and concerts take place daily.
Actors from the show returning to Mount Airy for this year’s festival include Keith Thibodeaux (Johnny Paul Jason), Rodney Dillard (one of the Darling boys), Ronnie Schell (Bernie the furrier and Duke Slater in “Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C.”), Dennis Rush (Howie Pruitt), and Margaret Kerry (Helen Scobey).
Dan Roebuck, who played Cliff Lewis for the final three seasons of “Matlock,” will be in Mount Airy for a Saturday evening presentation; he’ll also be a special guest for the country buffet dinner on Thursday evening.
“Mayberry fans love coming to Mount Airy to learn more about ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and Andy Griffith,” said organizer Tanya Jones of the Surry Arts Council in a press release. “They truly enjoy all things Mayberry, especially interacting with the actors and others who knew them.”
Additional guests with connections to “The Andy Griffith Show” include Karen Knotts, daughter of Don Knotts; Dick Atkins, producer of “Murder in Coweta County;” Dreama Denver, wife of the late Bob Denver who played Dud Wash; and the family of “The Andy Griffith Show” writer Harvey Bullock.
For a full schedule of events, visit www.MayberryDays.com. Some events require tickets, which can be purchased on the website. Additional event info and tickets are also available by calling (336) 786-7998.
A fun way to tour the town Barney style is to take a ride with Squad Car Tours in a genuine 1960s-era police car driven by natives who know both the town and its famous TV star. Visitors will leave from Wally's Service Station on Main Street and pass by Mt. Airy landmarks such as Barney's Cafe, Floyd's Barber Shop and Andy's birthplace, among other landmarks. And don't miss an opportunity to sample sonkers, a cobbler-type dessert that's unique to this area of North Carolina. Read about the Surry Sonker Trail and the places to enjoy this special dish here.
Weird, Wacky and Wild South is written by Cheré Coen, a food and travel writer who grew up with "The Andy Griffith Show" (okay, maybe the reruns) and who loved sampling sonkers while touring Mt. Airy.