13th Annual Mayberry Days
September 26-28, 2002

by Jeff Koontz

It was another fun-filled time in Mount Airy with my friends coming in from all over the country to get together for what has become our Mayberry family reunion. A few of my friends were only able to be there in spirit this year and they were certainly missed. So many people involved with the Surry Arts Council work hard to make this a successful event and I appreciate all their efforts. I do what I can to promote and help before the festival and they let me play most all weekend. This year's guest stars included Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou), Maggie Peterson-Mancuso (Charlene Darling), Howard Morris (Ernest T. Bass), George Spence (George), and new comers,  James Best (Jim Lindsey), and writer Harvey Bullock.

We have to get an early start on the festival, so many of us arrive on Wednesday, the day before the official start, to have some time together before things get so hectic around town. The schedule of events has settled down some, but only because there are only 24 hrs in a day. It is busy from start to finish, but we manage to spend time together to catch up "vis-a-vis" and enjoy our time together. I brought my camera this time and have some photos to share with the stories. 


Ron & Linda at Andy's Homeplace

Ron & Linda from Kenneth City, FL inside Andy's Homeplace

We got checked into our accommodations for the night and many of us met at the Blue Bird Diner on Wednesday afternoon. It was about the only time there was no line to eat there, so we did well to get lunch when we did.

Bob & Carolyn have made reservations for the group to stay at Andy's Homeplace Bed & Breakfast the past couple years and that has been a great way to start off the weekend. The home is where Andy Griffith grew up and has been a B&B for a few years now. There was a good crowd for dinner and this year Bob grilled rib eye sandwiches and people brought things to share for dinner. I slipped up to the SAC reception at Tanya home to visit with friends and the guests stars for a little bit before returning for a late dinner. Emmett & Bobbi Forrest stopped by later in the evening and he told us about the time he and Andy got caught in the rain and Mrs. Griffith was not going to let Emmett go home wet, so she made the boys stand by the wood stove in the kitchen and dry off. Ann Vaughn and Jim Clark both stopped by to visit, which was extra nice, knowing how busy they are during the weekend.

Bob & Carolyn at Andy's Homeplace

Bob & Carolyn from Plainview, NE at Andy's Homeplace

Friends at Andy's Homeplace on Wednesday night

Linda, Kathy, Pat and Joyce - The Ladies Aide Church Committee meeting in the kitchen


A few of us slept over at the home place and Bob fixed a breakfast casserole and David & Linda brought 3 pans of biscuits and muffins, so everyone got the day off to a good start. It had rained all night and I went to the store to get some juice and a newspaper, I forgot to park my car where my moon roof would drain and got soaked when I pulled out of the driveway and the water came pouring in from above. Later in the day, it happened again and I soaked Bob too! 

The Mount Airy News had feature articles on all the guest stars in 3 days worth of papers. It was nice to have that so the Mayberry Confidential could do a nice front page featuring Andy Griffith and Parkway Dedication on October 16th.

Bob & David fixed up a great breakfast for Thursday

Breakfast of Champions

Trish explains to John just how valuable the lucky penny is

John with his new lucky penny

Thursday morning there was a dedication ceremony for Maggie Peterson-Mancuso's donation to the Andy Griffith Museum. In 1967, she was featured in the "Uptown-Downtown Special" with Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, and Tennessee Ernie Ford. She still had 2 dresses (designed by Bob Macke), shoes, dress sketches and promotional items from the show. It is a wonderful new addition to the collection of memorabilia. Jim Clark and I got to be the official unveilers and pull the curtain down to uncover the display. Another advantage to being tall!

A little rain didn't dampen their spirits

Suzanne and Brenda at the Golf Tournament

Thursday turned into a rather soggy day, but the festival must go on! The golf tournament had a better than expected turnout and Emmett Forrest's team finished 10 under to take the top prize again. The White Horse team of Troy & Kathy Taylor and Pat & Neil Coleman continued their tradition of one round of golf each year, and secured the Power Failure Award again (bless their hearts). They did take the Esquire Club Costume Award as well with a great theme from "Divorce, Mountain Style." (East to West! East to West!) The rain kept most of the crowds away from the Tee-Off, so it was  a nice opportunity to visit with the guest stars before the tournament started and get some photos.

What a treat to be in this picture!

Huggy Huggy!


Bob & Carolyn, Trisha and I stayed the rest of the weekend at Chestnut Hills, so we got settled there and met up with friends downtown later that afternoon and drove out to visit Miss Annie and have a Rockford Steak* for lunch at the Rockford General Store. It is the 2nd neatest little general store (behind the Four Corners Country Store in Plainview, NE) and we ate one of the best *bologna and cheese sandwiches this side of Fishers Creek. We also go to drive over the Low Water Bridge, which is just down the road, and is scheduled to be removed in a few weeks. A local piece of lore swept into the dustbin of history. 

Rockford General Store in Rockford, North Carolina

Ordering Up a Rockford Steak


In the summer of 2001, I spent 2 months in Watertown, South Dakota and happened upon the Coteau Shopper, the local weekly paper. Each issue published a photo of someone holding the paper in locations outside of South Dakota, so I took a copy home with the intent of getting a photo like this to send back to them. With any luck, they will publish this photo and my friends at the Clark County Courthouse where I worked will see it and send me a copy!

Coteau Shopper with Maggie & Betty

Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) and Maggie Peterson-Mancuso (Charlene Darling) point the Coteau Shopper


Thursday evening David & Linda made reservations for us to have dinner at the Sagebrush Steakhouse & Saloon. We had a nice dinner and chance to visit in the back room. Ann Vaughn, the executive director of the Visitors Center stopped by as well. We pretty much closed the restaurant down (as we usually do) and went downtown to see if the Jam Session was still jamming, but they had already rolled up the sidewalks, so we called it a day.

Friday morning came early, but I slept as well as I have during Mayberry Days for as long as I can remember. I am usually so keyed up about all the fun that I don't sleep more than 3-4 hours a night. Chestnut Hills is so peaceful and the only thing I heard was the wind and rain and the occasional thud of a chestnut falling on Trisha's car outside my window. I went into town and spent a couple hours at the Visitors Center helping with balloons and decorations for the grounds, then headed to the Main-Oak Emporium to see Neal Brower and special guest Harvey Bullock at the book signing. The weather was not very cooperative on Friday, so they moved the Mayor's Proclamation into the Catawba Room of the Emporium and that worked out well. It was nice hearing a new proclamation from the new mayor. One of the nicest things was my friend Kathy signing during the event and said how much Harvey Bullock appreciate that because he has a sister who is deaf.

My friend Greg brought the birdhouse the Harvey Bullock made a number of years ago for a fund raiser that TAGSRWC had. Harvey recognized it right off and was kind enough to autograph it.

I had the opportunity to visit with Harvey's wife Betty, and we talked about her polymer clay necklace. She said she had never owned a piece of jewelry that got more attention and if you look carefully, you can see why. I told her about my sister Judy's jewelry and was able to show her a bracelet that Carolyn brought with her. Betty was very impressed (as I always am of my sister's creativity).

With the crowd already gathered and the weather potentially creating a mess at the Historic Moore House, Mrs. Wiley's Tea was moved to the Catawba Room. "May I have this dance?" "Thank you for the dance." The guest stars also signed autographs and took photos with the fans.

Betty Bullock with her polymer clay neclaces

Betty Bullock at the Mayor's Proclamation

Greg & Harvey with the birdhouse Harvey made for a TAGSRWC fundraiser

Greg Barkely and Harvey Bullock with Greg's Birdhouse that Harvey made

No coffee, tea or punch, thank you.

Mrs. Wiley's Tea


Three cuts of pie is my high water mark

Pie eating contest with Allan Newsome and Ann Vaughn
After the Proclamation, we went up to the Pie Eating Contest and Flower Show Awards at the Visitors Center. The rain held off long enough to stay dry and everyone had a good time with "Floyd the Barber" and "Ernest T" leading the way.

In what turned out to be the shortest wait I've ever had at Snappy Lunch, we slid in about 5 minutes before they closed on Friday afternoon and practically sat right down on the prime booth right in the middle of everything. We got pork chop sandwiches all the way and started eating, in various forms and fashions, as the photos show. 

There goes another tree to make enough napkins for the next pork chop sandwich

Now THAT's the way to eat a pork chop sandwich!


Now where's the fun in being so neat?!


The rain brought the trivia contest inside the Andy Griffith Playhouse and I missed sitting on the hill with Johnny & Donna Phillips, who were unable to attend this year (but got to see Don Knotts and Tim Conway perform that weekend). This years trivia questions were as hard as ever and I only got 7 correct answers out of 22. However, my 6 stickers (I should have gone down to guess one I had right), were enough for me to tie for 6th place, my highest ever! Three time trivia champion Pat got every question correct, so if any of you think I'm the TAGS nut, let me introduce you to one of the nicest ladies who knows the show more than anyone.


Friday night the Doug Dillard Band played their annual concert (he's been a part of every Mayberry Days!) at the Andy Griffith Playhouse. This year he featured a 16 year old girl on lead guitar. She was incredibly talented and the audience really showed their appreciation for her talent. They also brought out a girl who is a Senior at East Tennessee State University (they have a traditional music curriculum) who sang a couple songs and played fiddle. I had a nice visit with Doug during the intermission and really enjoyed the show.

We had our annual post-concert gathering and everyone had a nice time visiting, sharing photos, telling tales, rocking on the porch, and wondering "just what  can you do with a grown woman and Saran Wrap?"

Doug Dillard Band for 2002
The 2002 Doug Dillard Band


How I vote brother, is my business!

It's A Big Moulage!

Saturday morning came even earlier and we hustled downtown to set up tables for the Silent Auction and get our regular place on the sidewalk for the parade. It was great to see a cow leading the parade with this year's t-shirt design being a big moulage!

Jody Crawford (driving) lays out the Mayberry Confidential

Potato Queen riding with Jody Crawford, who lays out the Mayberry Confidential


I didn't have a chance to take many photos on Saturday, but there was so much going on. Right after the parade was the WBMUTBB Silent Auction. We had more items than table space, but we found a home for all the things that members donated and will have some cool stuff from Surry Arts Council to start next year. We had some really neat items this year including unique autographed items, a Chinese Pewter Box from the estate of Frances Bavier (which found the perfect home in Aunt Bee's room at the Mayberry Motor Inn) and raised $2030 for SAC this year. I had lots of help from friends and it wouldn't be a success with all of their efforts.

I also got to hold the raffle drum for the drawing for dinner with the TAGS stars and an autographed squad car cookie jar. The winner was SOOO excited and it was great that real fans of the show would get to dine with so many stars from the show. 

Once the dust settled from the auction, I found some friends first in line for Neal Brower's Lecture, "A Visit With Harvey Bullock." The lecture is always my favorite part of Mayberry Days and this was the best one in a series of great lectures. Harvey was a writer for TAGS and among his credits are some classics including "Opie the Birdman", "The Pickle Story", "The Loaded Goat", "Mr. McBeevee", "The Bookie Barber" and "Jailbreak" which has my favorite epilogue. It was so nice to hear his stories about the our favorite show.

The TAGSRWC Dinner meeting followed that and I had forgotten to get the drum for the video raffle, so I had to run back to the Playhouse to get it and returned a big sweatball and missed the first part of the meeting. I do enjoy the chapter reports and hearing about plans for the upcoming Mayberry events in 2003. I also got to represent our local TAGSRWC Chapter "Some of Us Got It... Some of Us Ain't" in the annual group photo!

Colonel Tim's Talent Time was next and David Browning did a fantastic job of emceeing the show. He just gets better every year. There were only a couple of fresh acts this year and my favorite part was listening to Maggie's sister Phyllis Eaton play the piano (what a talented family!). Other new material included Allan Newsome as "Pink Floyd' singing an original Mayberry song to the tune "House of the Rising Sun" and the Soggy Bottom Boys, David and Allan, with wives Patty and Jan and Allan's son Adam as backup singers, in "Man of Constant Sorrow." It was also great to see Phil Lee back on stage having fun - he's the man of a thousand costumes.


The final event of Saturday is the Bowling Tournament. We fielded two teams this year and had the most fun of anyone there. Team 44 "Henry Bennett's Outdoor Fun Center" won 2nd place and added another trophy to their collection. Congratulations to Bob, Don, Dave and John!

Henry Bennett's teams at the bowling tournament
Henry Bennett's Bowling Teams

Proud Proud Proud Proud Proud
Dave, Don, Bob & John with their bowling trophies


David & Linda at breakfast on Sunday
David & Linda of Easley, SC at Breakfast

Sunday morning we had our annual farewell breakfast at the Golden Corral. The whole weekend goes so quickly and it is nice to get together for one final time before having to part ways. Fortunately, many of us will get to return for the Andy Griffith Parkway Dedication. 

"There is no such thing as good-bye among friends."

The tradition continues at Golden Corral
Saying farewell on Sunday

Carolyn had to wrestle 3 ladies to get this scarf from Michael Hoover
Carolyn sporting her Elvis scarf


Good friend relaxing on the porch
Best friends in the rockers at the Visitors Center
Go home, take a nap, then over to Trisha's for some TV
Carolyn and I horning in on a photo of Trisha catching a quick nap 
Final day in Mount Airy at the Visitors Center
Mayberry Days 2002

Trisha, Bob & Carolyn and I are lucky enough to be able to spend some time on Sunday afternoon in Mount Airy enjoying the quiet of the day after such a hectic weekend of fun. We can't leave without seeing Ann at the Visitors Center one last time to collect a hug. This year we went to Mayberry Square, a new antique emporium in town, and also walked around town eating ice cream. The good weather we have enjoyed for the past five years didn't show up until Sunday, but we still had a good time despite the rain on Thursday and Friday and heat and humidity on Saturday. The crowds seemed down a little this year because of the weather, but it was another successful festival for the Surry Arts Council and I look forward to Mayberry Days in 2003!