Mount Airy, N.C. — Barbara Eden and Clint Howard will be making appearances at the annual Mayberry Days festival later this month in Mount Airy, event organizers announced Tuesday.
It will be the first visit to Andy Griffith's hometown for both actors. Eden played Mayberry's first manicurist during one episode of "The Andy Griffith Show," while Howard appeared in several episodes as Leon, a cowboy-hat wearing youngster who always had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in his pocket.
“Barbara’s episode is among the most memorable and popular of all time. We’ve gotten a bunch of calls from fans,” festival organizer Tanya Jones of the Surry Arts Council said in a press release. “Clint is Ron Howard’s brother and was in several episodes, as well as many of his brother’s movies.”
The multi-day festival, planned Sept. 23-27, pays tribute to Mount Airy's role as inspiration for the idyllic town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show.
Also attending this year's event will be Bruce Bilson, assistant director of "The Andy Griffith Show." Bilson also directed Eden in the movie Chattanooga Choo Choo. He will talk about that movie before a screening at the Earle Theatre, and will also appear at Professor Brower’s lecture about "The Andy Griffith Show" and share his memories of working with Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts and others associated with the classic sitcom.
Other actors appearing during Mayberry Days include:
- Hometown sweetheart Betty Lynn (Barney Fife’s girlfriend Thelma Lou)
- Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling)
- Morgan Brittany (Opie’s girlfriend Mary Alice Carter)
- Ronnie Schell (two different characters)
- George Lindsey Jr. (son of George "Goober" Lindsey)
Rodney Dillard, one of the Darling Boys, will play a bluegrass concert, and Karen Knotts will perform “Tied Up in Knotts,” a one-person stage show she wrote in tribute to her late father.
Other activities include a golf tournament, Colonel Tim's Talent Time, trivia contests, a barbecue cook-off, and the Mayberry Days Parade. Fans also enjoy meeting tribute artists like Mayberry Deputy David Browning, and attending the annual meeting of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC).
Mayberry Days features free and ticketed events spread over four days.