My wet experience at the 2017 Mayberry in the Midwest was definitely not repeated at last year’s Indiana festival. In fact, I was working on a good sunburn by the end of the day. But I am fair-skinned enough that I often joke I can get a sunburn just by thinking about the sun too much.
Last year, my buddy Rob who has gone to Mayberry Days with me the last few years and buddy Steve who was able to go with us to Mayberry Days once in spite of being a school teacher who can not easily get a Friday off, all went to Mayberry in the Midwest. We drove over early enough to have breakfast at a Danville landmark.
The Mayberry Cafe sits on the same town square where the festival is held. Televisions throughout the restaurant continuously air episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. We all opted for the buffet and it was a great meal together.
This time, I was able to watch the parade. Just as I had done the last year, we spent the day watching the free entertainment, including free entertainment by the tribute artists, Maggie “Charlene Darling: Peterson, and various bluegrass bands. We strolled through the many vendor’s booths and walked down to watch the “Squad Car Nationals” with numerous Mayberry squad car reproductions. We attended a remembrance of Jim Nabors by Ronnie Schell.
I also participated in the trivia contest and did much better than at the Mayberry Days trivia contests. That being said, I came close but did not break into the finals. People often assume since I have become an expert on the show that I would automatically do well in trivia competitions. While I do know a great deal about the show itself, such as how it came to be and the actors who played roles, I definitely do not have everything about the show memorized. I know some past champions literally made flash cards of each bit of trivia from each episode and memorized them, but I do not fall in that category.
One of the most fun aspects of a friendly festival like the one Danville hosts is the opportunity to meet and spend time with so many fellow fans. It is a treat to be somewhere and know everyone you see there is at least somewhat of a Mayberry fan.
I got to meet Steve Jackson, a member of The Gomer and Goober Comic Book Literary Guild who is instrumental in making Mayberry in the Midwest a reality. His work with the festival is just one of the reasons he received the Mayberry Appreciation Award from the members of the national rerun watcher’s club which was presented at least year’s Mayberry Meet-Up.
I was also able to meet in person another guild member, Janet Anderson, who not only is a charming person but was also the winner of the trivia competition in Danville last year!
But the biggest personal surprise for me came while I was participating in the trivia contest. I was standing by another guild member who has become a friend, Mike McGonigal, when I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. I turned around to see George Lindsey Jr., the son of the actor who played Goober. He asked me, “Are you Randy Turner?” When I said he was, he held up both hands palm out and pretended to bow. It was a thrill for me to learn that he made it a point to introduce himself because he is a fan of my podcast audio reports and my Facebook postings about Mayberry history. I had seen George in the Mayberry Days parade in 2017 but had disappointingly not had the opportunity to meet him. It was especially gratifying for me as his dad was the first Mayberry cast member I ever met many years ago.
If you are a Mayberry fan, I would really encourage you to attend Mayberry in the Midwest. The festival continues to grow and this year will even include a free concert by the nationally known bluegrass band, The Grascals!