Although this year’s Mayberry Days festival promises to be a slimmed-down version because of COVID-19, the annual gathering will still be held, with plenty of good old Mayberry fun for everyone.
Missing this year, however, will be many of the guests who are either members of the original cast and crew, or close relatives who often appear in their stead.
Tanya Jones, executive director of the Surry Arts Council, sponsoring agency for the festival, said travel restrictions make it impossible for most of those individuals to make their way to Mount Airy.
There will still be plenty of Mayberry excitement to be experienced, however.
Betty Lynn, the Mount Airy resident who played Thelma Lou, will be “on parade,” meaning she’ll be chauffeured around town in a 1953 Buick so folks can wave and call out their well-wishes to her.
Jones, who has always maintained the festival will be held in accordance with whatever guidelines are in place under Gov. Roy Cooper’s orders regarding public gatherings and other activities, said some of the shows will go on, but under altered circumstances.
She said seating for concerts will be such that the number of attendees will be limited, and social distancing will be enforced in the available seating.
Among the shows that are still on will be Joy In The Journal Gospel Favorites with Allen Leath, Mayberry Melodies, the always popular Memories of Elvis featuring Micheal Hoover, John Floyd’s “The Mount of Mayberry,” and other shows.
In addition to concerts and comedy routines, regular staples of the annual event will take place. While some activities will begin on Monday — including guided tours of the Andy Griffith Museum and the Andy Griffith Playhouse — the event officially gets rolling with the The Emmett Mayberry Days golf tournament Thursday at Cross Creek Country Club and the official Mayor’s Proclamation beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday at the Blackmon Amphitheatre.
Jones said the shows cancelled as a result of the pandemic have been rescheduled for 2021, and individuals who have purchased tickets to the now-cancelled shows can roll those tickets over to next year, or request a refund.
In addition to the various shows, other activities will go on, with some considerations for social distancing and other precautions. Among those are the adult and youth trivia contests, cornhole tournament, the whistling championship, apple peeling contest, the always-popular pie eating competition, the hay bale toss contest, and others.
For a full schedule of activities, see Mayberry Confidential, inserted in today’s Mount Airy News.