There is no small town in America more beloved than Mayberry, North Carolina.
Ironically, the town doesn’t actually exist- at least not as “Mayberry.” Writers of the popular ’60’s TV sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show, created the fictional community. However, it was based on the real life hometown of Andy Griffith- Mt. Airy, North Carolina.
Mt. Airy is a small community located just south of the Virginia border in the central part of North Carolina.
For 30 years now the charming small town hosts an annual festival called Mayberry Days honoring all things related to the popular show.
This year’s celebration will run from September 23rd – 29th, 2019.
The packed schedule offers fun for everyone! Highlights include: trivia contests, a golf tournament, comedy shows, concerts, special guest appearances and the Pickle Parade.
The Visitors Center and Andy Griffith Museum also open daily.
As a fan of the show, I couldn’t wait to attend my first Mayberry Days festival when we moved to North Carolina. And I have to say, it did not disappoint! Prior to visiting, my children didn’t have a lot of exposure to the show so I wondered how they would react.
In their case, it was more about attending a fun event rather than specifically identifying with any of the town’s nostalgia.
But they surprised me and jumped right into the spirit- even recognizing the sheriff’s station immediately!
Mary Grace participated in Aunt Bee’s Pie Eating Contest. We all went for a ride in a replica of Andy Griffith’s squad car and toured the Museum. Miller fell in love with banana splits at Walker’s Soda Fountain. We posed for pictures, listened to people talk about the “good ole days,” made crafts, and genuinely enjoyed the experience.
People come from far and wide to experience Mayberry Days! I could not believe the amount of charter tour busses. And the great distances that people were willing to travel for the event.
Here are a few things to know before visiting:
- The festival itself is free, but tickets are required for some of the events.
- There is considerable walking involved. Main Street is very spread out, and the events are staggered around the area.
- Only park in designated lots. Apparently this is a big deal and they do tow (not that I know from experience…I’m a rule follower!)
- Bring cash.
- Don’t be in a rush. True to the slow pace established on the show over 50 years ago, Mayberry (Mt. Airy) loves the slower way of life. Embrace it- even if just for a day!
- There are only a few hotel options in Mt. Airy and they book up quickly. The closest (bigger) cities are Greensboro and Winston-Salem, NC.
Two final thoughts- you may want to do a little binge watching of The Andy Griffith Show before you arrive at Mayberry Days. Only the best of fans will be able to catch every reference and replica Mt. Airy. Order the complete collection of all 8-seasons, or just The Best of Mayberry. You will also want to download the song “Mayberry” by Rascal Flatts and listen to it on repeat!
Don’t forget, the 2019 Mayberry Days Festival runs September 23rd – 29th.
You can visit the official website for more information.
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