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Mayberry in the Midwest Festival, May 15-17, 2015

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment
Mayberry in the Midwest Festival.

Mayberry in the Midwest Festival in Danville, Indiana, May 15-17, 2015.

By Josh Duke
VisitHendricksCounty.com

Welcoming and entertaining more than 4,000 visitors over two days in 2014, the first-ever Mayberry in the Midwest proved to be a rousing success. Expecting more visitors in its second year, organizers want to do even more as they have added another day, more ticketed events and additional free activities to the zany fun that made last year’s festival so popular.

The quiet 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, 2015. Former cast members, amazing 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.

“We have been to other Mayberry festivals, and although it was Danville’s first year hosting Mayberry in the Midwest, they did a great job making Danville feel like the fictitious town of Mayberry,” said Tena MacDonald, an Indianapolis resident who attended last year’s Mayberry in the Midwest with her husband. “Having the tribute artists really takes you there and brings Mayberry to life. We were so excited to hear that Karen Knotts is going to be in Danville this year. We saw her one-woman show in Mt. Airy (N.C.), and it was fantastic. It should draw a lot of people.”

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 hilarious 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.

“Mayberry fans are loyal, dedicated and willing to travel a long way to be part of a Mayberry celebration,” said Christine Born, owner of the Mayberry Cafe and event organizer. “Danville is a perfect community to host this event with its Main Street charm and hometown Americana personality, so we want to enhance that with new and creative ideas to keep this event entertaining and interesting. We learned a lot last year and a lot of what we changed and added reflects an effort to make this festival stand out.”

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, visitMayberryintheMidwest.com.

Things to do in Indianapolis, May 12-18, 2014

‘Mayberry in the Midwest’ Festival, May 17-18

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment
Mayberry in the Midwest

Logo provided by Visit Hendricks County and used with written permission.

By Josh Duke
Visit Hendricks County
http://tourhendrickscounty.com/

Since 1992, Danville, Indiana’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, 2014. The Downtown Danville celebration will pay homage to the 1960’s 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 much more.

Organizers even have a Mayberry Downhill Derby planned near Ellis Park that includes a “Just for Fun” category that is open to anyone and any car and a competitive division for the more serious Soap Box Derby racers. Online registration will begin for both categories by March 1. Participants must be at least 8 years old to participate as each category will be divided into two age groups: 8-16 and 16 and up.

Similar festivals in North and South Carolina, one of which the Borns visited last year, provided inspiration for some of the activities. But local organizers also came up with fresh ideas for Mayberry in the Midwest, Born said.

Organizers expect thousands of visitors both days. They will host a Meet and Greet event with limited tickets available the Friday night before the festival at Twin Bridges Golf Course. The Dugan Family has stepped up as a title sponsor for Mayberry in the Midwest, but the town is seeking additional sponsors and volunteers, said Laura Parker, Danville Assistant Town Manager and Downtown Danville Partnership board member.

“We have been building our reputation as a town that offers great festivals and events, so Mayberry in the Midwest is another opportunity for Danville to shine,” Parker said. “Because of Mayberry’s appeal and Danville’s reputation, this festival is bound to be the biggest by far. We can’t wait to roll out the red carpet for Mayberry fans from across the country.”

For more information, go online to www.MayberryInTheMidwest.com or visit its Facebook page by searching for Mayberry in the Midwest.