Everybody longs to be a part of something. Everybody wants to contribute to their family or circle of friends. Everybody wants to be valued. Sheriff Andy Taylor made that happen for the residents of Mayberry. He did it for Aunt Bee in the very first episode, The New House Keeper. He did it for Opie in Mr. McBeevee. He did it for Barney over and over; Lawman Barney, Crime Free Mayberry, Barneys Sidecar, on and on, and on. He even did it for old cranky Ben Weaver in The Christmas Story episode.
Three days in Westminster gave me insight to another layer of Mayberry Magic. My wife was not able to attend the Mayberry Comes to Westminster event with me this year. She hosted a group of her college friends at our house for the weekend. They had a great time “catching up” with them. Meanwhile, some 260 miles northwest of my home on the beautiful South Carolina coast, I was also having a great time...at another event celebrating our favorite "Home Town."
Most traveled with their spouses and or families to the event. After all, it is a family event. Some of us traveled alone to this event. Now I say this, not to make those who did not travel feel bad in any way. There were those that had other events, previous commitments, recovering from illnesses or even surgery. Whatever the reason. I know for a fact it wasn't that those folks didn't want to attend.
While at Mayberry Events, we enjoy parades, pageants, car shows, special breakfast events and dinners, silent auctions and shopping for Mayberry paraphernalia, Tribute Artist Shows, Trivia Contests, special musical guests, and especially those stars from the original Andy Griffith Show cast, and their families. At the Mayberry Comes to Westminster (MCTW) event on May 2-3, we had the wonderful Karen Knotts, in her one woman show; paying tribute to her dad, the great Don Knotts. We had Rodney Dillard, of the original Darlings from the show with his lovely wife Beverly and the Dillard Band, entertainment was nothing shy of awesome.
Now here's where I talk about the other STARS of the weekend...and to the layer of Mayberry Magic I spoke about earlier. The merchants and residents in Westminster opened their town to us, just as if they were bringing guest into their homes. The merchants and sponsors who support this fantastic festival are to be commended and supported. Local stores and eateries were friendly and accommodating. Organizer Tom Rusk and his wife Kathy welcomed us into their home on Friday morning for a “Brunch” and time of fellowship for the Tribute Artists and the special guests, original cast members and grand marshal of the event. The Rusk's pour their heart and soul into this event and it's always well planned and runs with efficiency. Mrs. Rusk commented as to the dedication of Tom to make this event great when she said, “Starting around February or March, Tom and I don’t see each other as often…he’s so heavy into the planning of the event.” I’m sure Mrs. Rusk stays pretty busy herself with the event…we all know that behind every good “Mayberry Man” is a “Mayberry Woman.”
The rest of the STARS are here: Being one of the newer Tribute Artists the block, (as Col. Harvey) this group has welcomed me in and adopted me as a part of that close knit family. We spend a good bit of time at the events together, either on stage, in parades, just walking around town, or in the hotel lobby. We share fun times, meals and stories, like families do. We rehearse so we can bring fun and memories from The Andy Griffith Show to life for everyone. We support and encourage one another, like a family should. We engage with the festival attendees and recreate scenes from the show to enhance not only their experience, but ours as well. And we share the love, compassion, and give personal value to everyone we meet, like a family would. At any Mayberry event, whether you come alone or with others…what you experience is a step back in time to the wonderful values that make a "Family." Oh, there are a lot of these values in families today, but it just seems different somehow, when you look back to your childhood.
Tribute Artists Barney Fife (David Browning), Floyd Lawson (Allan Newsome), Otis Campbell (Kenneth Junkin), Goober Pyle (Tim Pettigrew), Gomer Pyle (Michael Oliver), Howard Sprague (Jeff Branch), Millie Swanson (Tammy Branch), Andylina (Christie McLendon), Ernest T. Bass (Phil Fox), Salt and Pepper Barney and Thelma Lou (Ronnie and Elease Felker), Mayor Pike (Eric Lowry), Hoggette Winslow (Mike McLendon), Briscoe Darling (Bob Mundy), Col. Harvey (Keith Brown), and others would love to see you at a Mayberry Event near you.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a Mayberry Event, find an event closest to you, and go! When Barney starts tugging at his collar…when he clears his throat…when he starts hitting his fist on the side of his holster…GO! Don’t wait, just GO! He might count to three; he might miss you…but just GO!
Click HERE for the Mayberry Events Calendar http://tagsrwc.com/the_ebullet/mayberry-event-calendar/
Click HERE to go to and join for FREE, the iMayberry Community….where it's all Mayberry…all the time. www.iMayberryCommunity.com
Have a Mayberry Day,
Keith “Col. Harvey” Brown