Mount Airy to celebrate all things Mayberry at 34th annual Mayberry Days

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ to be celebrated in the star’s hometown.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ to be celebrated in the star’s hometown.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:14 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:14 PM EDT
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MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (WBTV) - What may be the most famous small town in North Carolina doesn’t actually exist.

Mayberry isn’t real, but Mount Airy, the town that inspired the show that was the setting for the popular 1960s TV series “The Andy Griffith Show,” is very real and getting ready for a very big party.

Mayberry Days begins next week and up to 50,000 people are expected.

“All the hotel rooms in the area fill up quickly and all the events, this is more of a festival,” Tanya Jones, executive director of the Surry Arts Council, said. “Mayberry Days, fortunately for Mount Airy, draws people from all over North Carolina as well as all over the United States.”

Mayberry Days is seven full days of concerts, guest appearances, a parade and more. It’s all to celebrate the iconic TV show created by Mount Airy native Andy Griffith. He said it was the charm of his hometown that inspired Mayberry.

“I personally think that during the pandemic it became even more desirable to be in a small town rather than in a large place, so if you’re going to be in a small town, why not be in the small town that everybody talks about and that’s Mayberry,” Jones said.

“To enjoy a simpler time and a simpler place,” Abigail Linville, director of collections and exhibitions, said. “It’s family fun, the pure enjoyment of ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’”

On Wednesday a new mural was being prepared at the Andy Griffith Playhouse by artist Madeline Matanick. It’s just one of the signs that preparations are well underway for Mayberry Days.

“The payoff is seeing the smiles and having everybody just enjoy the time,” Linville added.

Downtown Mount Airy is in Mayberry mode all year, with squad car tours, familiar sites like Floyd’s Barber Shop and the Snappy Lunch, where diners have to try the porkchop sandwich. There was a line waiting to get in on Wednesday, but what about next week?

“We’ll be lined up a couple blocks down the road,” Snappy Lunch hostess Kayla said.

The shops along Main Street cater to the Mayberry fan and many are already busy.

“We’ve just got everything stocked and ready for the tourists,” Ashani McHone, with Mayberry Market & Souvenirs, said. “Regardless of how many times a tourist comes to town, they are always going to find something new and something fun.”

Organizers said they love the Mayberry connection, but that they hope visitors will also get to know Mount Airy. They said that’s the best way to understand why it became the setting for a show that has stood the test of time.

“It’s also a festival where we share our town and we don’t want booths all over Main Street and closing off the street. We want to share the real Mount Airy with the guests,” Jones said. “Then they’ll understand better what inspired Andy Griffith.”

For complete information on the guest appearances, concerts, and other events happening with Mayberry Days next week, visit the Mayberry Days site here.