Mayberry Days special guests took a breather from the whirlwind of the festival at a Surry Arts Council reception held in their honor Friday night.
The party is an annual event hosted by Tanya Jones, executive director, at her Mount Airy home.
“When we first started Mayberry Days we realized folks who are special guests don’t have a time they can see each other, and where they just can relax and have a meal together.”
Donors to the council who reach a certain level are also recognized through the reception.
“It’s the Board of Directors way of saying thank you to donors, to give them the opportunity to meet our special guests but in a relaxing atmosphere.”
And on the opposite of that coin, it provides an opportunity for the guests, who encounter primarily visiting fans during the festival, to meet some of the locals who support the arts council.
In years past the party was held earlier in the week but was moved to Friday night this year, an indicator of how Mayberry Days has grown in 27 years.
“Now it’s such a busy time every night we’re actually having it on top of events,” Jones said.
Most of those in attendance mingled in the family room, sipping a variety of libations that included wine from the local Shelton Vinyards.
Special guests Ronnie Schell chatted with Rodney Dillard at the bar, and the two were joined by Schell’s son, Greg Schell.
“Out of all the events all over the world Mayberry Days is my absolute favorite,” said Ronnie Schell, adding that the gathering was a treat after an enjoyable but hard days work.
In another room, Betty Lynn relaxed with Karen Knotts and Lana Ford to the solo piano playing of Duke Ladd.
As Ladd played “Can’t Help Loving That Man of Mine,” Lynn started to sing along.
Another song, “Night and Day,” reminded Lynn of a late night dinner she partook at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, and she shared the story with the others.
The piano drew a crowd, and later on in the evening, Laura Hagen sang “Bye Bye Blackbird,” into the microphone.
“We love Mayberry Days,” said Amanda Ladd, of Wilminton. “Tonight is a favorite aspect.”
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.