DANVILLE — Welcoming more than 4,000 visitors over two days last year, the first Mayberry in the Midwest proved to be a rousing success, organizers said in a press release. Expecting more visitors in its second year, organizers have added another day, more ticketed events and additional free activities.
The Hendricks County seat of Danville will transform again into the iconic 1960s fictional community that was home to Andy, Opie, Aunt Bee and Barney for the Mayberry in the Midwest festival May 15-17. Former cast members, tribute artists and even Don Knotts’ real-life daughter, Karen Knotts, will take visitors on a journey inside their televisions to experience life in Mayberry.
The three-day festival will surround the historic Hendricks County Courthouse Square with numerous themed activities including a Mayberry parade, Opie’s World, Tractor Town, Squad Car Nationals, reruns of the show on the big screen at the historic Royal Theater, food and vendor booths and much more. Two original "Andy Griffith Show" cast members, Maggie Peterson Mancuso, who portrayed Charlene Darling on the show, and Rodney Dillard, who played one of the Darling boys, also will return. Tribute artists reprising many of the show’s most popular characters including Barney, Goober, Gomer, Floyd the Barber, Ernest T. Bass and others will sign autographs, mingle with the crowd and perform on stage.
But organizers also wanted to infuse new activities into this year’s festival including:
• Karen Knotts — She will share stories from life with her legendary dad.
• Mayberry After Dark — This activity billed as part scavenger hunt, part pub crawl and part walking tour will include a one-of-a-kind keepsake and other surprises.
• Mike Toomey Comedy Show — National comedian Mike Toomey will present his “Mayberry Centric” stand-up routine.
• Game Shows — Mayberry-themed game shows requiring audience participation.
The festival and most of the activities are free. However, a few ticketed events will be held throughout the event.
Limited tickets just went on sale for a VIP Meet & Greet Party inside the Hendricks County Courthouse Rotunda, Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band concert, Karen Knotts’ retrospective, Mike Toomey Comedy Show and Mayberry After Dark. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit MayberryintheMidwest.com.