Mayberry in the Midwest 2019, Part I

Last weekend was the annual Mayberry in the Midwest festival held in Danville, Indiana. I attended the event for the first time in 2017 and again in 2018, but during those years I drove over and back on Saturday. People in the know urged me not to miss the opening night event, a “meet-and-greet” dinner which included this year for the first time a silent auction. I am so glad I took their advice. I attended Mayberry in the Midwest from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.

Standing by the local Aunt Bee tribute artist by my donation. The signs described the upcoming Mayberry Firsts and the 2020 Mayberry Day-by-Day Flip Book Calendar.

One of the event organizers asked me to make a donation for the silent auction so I came a bit early to set up the items. Regina, the lucky winner, got from Liberty Grove Press our out-of-print 2019 Mayberry Day-by-Day Flip Book Calendar, one of our Andy & Opie t-shirts, and will be the first to receive Mayberry Firsts and the 2020 Mayberry Day-by-Day Calendar as each is received from the printer. I also want to give a shout-out to my high school buddy, Elvin, who donated a unique handmade pen that was included as part of a great Mayberry gift basket that someone was lucky enough to win. The silent auction raised over $2000 for the festival, by the way!

Gift basket that included Elvin’s pen.
Close-up of Elvin’s handmade pen.

A couple of months ago, I was surprised to receive an email from Dixie Griffith, Andy Griffith’s daughter, telling me how much she enjoys the current calendar. I had sent one as a gift to her through a mutual friend and, needless to say, that email made my week. While I have seen Dixie a couple of times at festivals from afar since she is one of the two tribute artists who portray the “fun girls from Mount Pilot,” I had never actually met her. She asked me to be sure to introduce myself and I was able to do so at the meet-and-greet dinner.

One last point to mention is that I was lucky enough to sit with Mayberry friends Johnna, Robert, and Marsha at the dinner. This worked out especially well as Johnna and I discussed a speaking presentation I will be making in Missouri in 2020! More details will eventually follow.

Warding off the Henry Bennett hex with Newton Monroe.

After a wonderful evening with Mayberry friends, I drove to my cousin’s house who had generously offered to let me stay with him during the festival. This was an extra special treat for me as Darrell and his brother Robert were two of my favorite cousins growing up. They lived in Indianapolis but we saw them frequently whether through mutual visits or both being in Eastern Kentucky at the same time visiting our grandma.

That is Maggie “Charlene Darling” Mancuso on the left of the photo.

Staying with Darrell was also a bonus because the local hotels all around Indianapolis raise their rates drastically during the weeks leading up to the Indianapolis 500 during time trials for the race. The only “downside” (and I am using that word facetiously) is how late we stayed up talking since we don’t get to see one another often enough.

The next morning, Robert met us at a nearby diner called the Knuckle Sandwich, a little restaurant in Martinsville housed in what used to be a Dairy Queen. It was great to see Robert again. We said our goodbyes after a great breakfast and I headed back to Danville.

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