First Posted: 9/25/2009
As Mayor Jack Loftis officially welcomed in the 20th annual Mayberry Days, audience members were treated to speeches from many stars of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS) fame as well as a couple of special treats.
Doug Dillard, one of the Darling Brothers, surprised the crowd by pulling out the very first Mayberry Days T-shirt which he presented to Emmett Forrest to display in the Andy Griffith Museum.
Its good to be here and still be above the ground, he told the audience. Thank God for Andy Griffith.
Several people presented Jim Clark with tokens of gratitude for his work on Mayberry Days. He received a plaque, a custom-designed trophy and a custom-designed Christmas ornament.
Loftis also presented two keys to the city. The first key went to Karen Knotts, the daughter of Don Knotts of Barney Fife fame, who is at Mayberry Days for the first time with a one-woman show about her fathers life.
Admiral Gary Jones, a Mount Airy native who recently retired from the Navy, also received a key to the city.
That key will get you in anywhere. You can get a pork chop sammich any time of day at Snappy Lunch now. Just open the door and go right in, said David Browning, a Barney Fife impersonator, of the key to the city.
When I got my key to the city, it had a bottle opener on the end, said Jackie Joseph, who played Sweet Romeena.
Their keys actually have fold-out corkscrews. Youre beer, theyre wine, replied Browning.
Audience members were also treated to a performance of Old Black Magic by Elizabeth MacRae, who dedicated the song to Gomer Pyle.
All of the actors involved in the ceremony spoke of how important it is for them to have a place to gather and relive TAGS. They all praised the organizers of Mayberry Days and thanked everyone for showing up and helping to make the event a success.
Every time I see a crowd of people like this, I see the face of Mayberry, said Rodney Dillard, a Darling Brother.
This is my favorite, favorite thing. This is like being home, this is my family, said Maggie Peterson-Mancuso, who played Charlene Darling.
Filled with references to TAGS, the official kick-off to the 20th year of Mayberry Days served to get everyone in the Mayberry frame of mind for the rest of the weekends festivities.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.