DANVILLE — Since 1992, Danville’s Mayberry Cafe has served up down-home cooking and plenty of Andy Griffith Show nostalgia to thousands of people who come to Hendricks County every year from around the region, country and even the world.
Restaurant owners Brad and Christine Born, with the help of the Downtown Danville Partnership, plan to take that success and notoriety to a new level this spring with a first-ever, two-day festival called Mayberry in the Midwest, May 17-18. The Downtown Danville celebration will pay homage to the 1960s show, its characters and its wholesome, small-town persona.
“For years, people would ask us why we didn’t have a Mayberry-themed festival here in town,” said Christine Born. “We have been thinking about this for a while because the Mayberry theme really meshes well with Danville’s hometown values. Danville knows how to put on a festival, so we feel the time is right for this to be successful and sustainable.”
The two-day festival will primarily surround the Hendricks County Courthouse Square with numerous themed activities both days, including appearances by two original cast members, Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling on the show, and Rodney Dillard, who portrayed one of the Darling boys.
A number of tribute artists will join the celebration reprising many of the show’s most popular characters, including Barney Fife, Floyd the Barber, Otis, Goober, Gomer, Ernest T. Bass and others. Those artists will sign autographs, mingle with the crowd and perform on stage on the west side of the Courthouse Square.
Fun contests, including a whistling contest, Miss Mayberry, Opie look-a-like, trivia and more, will add to the festivities.
More details about all the contests and how to register can be found at www.MayberryInTheMidwest.com. Other activities include a Mayberry Parade, Opie’s World for kids, a concert at Ellis Park featuring Dillard and his band, a church service on Sunday morning by Dillard, who is now a minister, Squad Car Nationals in the park, and more.