DANVILLE, Ind. — Drawing thousands of visitors from all over the country the last five years, the Mayberry in the Midwest festival returns next month with its whacky fun, a few surprises and plenty to see and do during this must-see experience.
The typically quiet Hendricks County seat of Danville transforms into the iconic 1960s fictional community the third weekend in May every year, and this year is no different. Where else outside of your television can you see a pack of Opies, Aunt Bee, Barney and the rest of the gang?
This year’s Mayberry in the Midwest festival weekend will be May 17–19 and will include a former cast member, the daughter of the legendary Andy Griffith and other dignitaries, activities and entertainment taking visitors on a journey to experience life in Mayberry.
The festival begins with the annual Meet & Greet Dinner from 6–9 p.m. May 17 at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds & Conference Complex. One of the festival’s few ticketed events, the Meet & Greet allows participants to mingle with the former cast members, children of former cast members and the Tribute Artists, who reprise many of the show’s most popular characters including Barney, Gomer, Floyd the Barber and more.
Mayberry celebrities in attendance during the Meet & Greet include former cast members:
- Ronnie Schell, who appeared in two episodes and starred in Gomer Pyle: USMC opposite Jim Nabors.
- Maggie Peterson Mancuso, a festival regular who portrayed Charlene Darling on the show.
Dixie Griffith, Andy Griffith’s daughter, and George Lindsey Jr., whose father played Goober on the show, also will appear.
Mayberry in the Midwest festival officially kicks off on Saturday around the historic Hendricks County Courthouse Square with numerous themed activities including the popular Mayberry parade on Saturday morning, Opie’s World for kids, Tractor Town, fun contests including a whistling competition, pickle eating and Mayberry trivia, demonstrations at the Hendricks County Historical Museum, food and vendor booths and much more. Schell and Peterson Mancuso will also make appearances as will the tribute artists signing autographs and performing on stage.
Other activities at this year’s festival include:
- A Tribute to Comedy Legends — Schell will share his memories working closely with Andy Griffith, Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller and many others at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Crawley Business Center above the Visit Hendricks County offices on the northeast side of the square. This is a ticketed event.
- Q&A with Dixie Griffith — Learn about her childhood growing up as the daughter of Andy Griffith at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Crawley Business Center. This is a ticketed event.
- Live entertainment — Multiple bluegrass bands will perform both days on the free stage headlined for the first time by South Carolina bluegrass favorite, The Grascals at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, to purchase tickets or to see the weekend’s complete schedule, visit MayberryintheMidwest.com.
For more information on Hendricks County go to VisitHendricksCounty.com or call (317) 718-8750.