MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- It's a festival that signifies a simpler time in the lives of people all across our country, and it started right here in the Piedmont.
The Mayberry Days festival began in Andy Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy 25 years ago, as a one-day festival with very limited funding.
Today, it has grown into a four-day attraction which brings in tens of thousands of people from all over the country.
"I love seeing the town transform back to the days of Mayberry and the Andy Griffith show, times were so much simpler then, than they are now," said Randy Watson, of Mount Airy.
The streets of Mount Airy are lined with pictures, memorabilia, vendors, tents, and plenty of people dressed up like some of the Andy Griffith Show's most iconic characters.
"There was an Aunt Bee contest and I won the contest and I've done it for 10 years since," said Georgia Branam, who was seated at a booth along Main Street. "We always enjoy meeting everyone, and enjoy playing the parts, and I always love to encourage children to watch the show."
For the people who travel hours, and sometimes even days to come to the festival, it's a reminder of a time that is now the past, but which shaped their lives.
"It keeps a good spark here, that just thrills me to even just get to come up," said Roger Thomas, of Albermarle. "You didn't have a lot of things going on like you have today. And, uh, it was very safe for your children."
Perhaps the biggest day of the event is Saturday, September 27th. The day begins with the Mayberry Days Parade, a favorite for many of the patrons. For a complete list of the day's events, see below:
8 am – 7 pm Mayberry Days Information Station
8 am -4 pm Mr. Tucker's Apple Peel-Off
9 am – 5 pm Visitors Center
9 am – 6 pm Andy Griffith Museum, Siamese Twins Exhibit, Mount Airy Mayberry Photo Exhibit
9 am – Mayberry Days Parade
11 am – 1 pm WPAQ Mery-Go-Round
10 am – 5 pm Inflatables
10 am – Noon Mayberry Days Silent Auction
10 am Mayberry Days Barbeque Sales
10:30 am – 7 pm Little Blue Choo
11 am – 1 pm James Best
11 am – 5 pm Autographs, Reruns, Memorabilia Sales
11 am – 1:30 pm WPAQ Merry-Go-Round
11 am Mayberry Days Barbeque Cook-Off Awards Presentation
11:30 am – Noon Rhythmic Expression Cloggers
Noon – 1:30 pm Chester Jones Checkers Competition
12:30 pm Live Auction
12:30 pm Mayberry Idle
1 pm Goober Says Hale Bale Toss Championship and Corn Hole Toss Championship
2 pm Professor Brower's Lecture
2:15 pm Comedian John Floyd "The Mouth of Mayberry"
2:30 pm Colonel Tim's Talent Time
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Larry G Davis Band
3:15 pm – 4 pm Wood Family Traditions
4:15 pm – 5 pm Maui
7 pm Michael Hoover "Memories of Elvis"
7:15 pm Comedian John Floyd "The Mouth of Mayberry"
7:30 pm Colonel Tim's Talent Time