Editor's Note: The following story is a preview for the 2016 Mayberry in the Midwest Festival. We should have a new preview for the 2017 event sometime soon. Until then, if you are looking for specific information for the 2017 event, click here.
We are just over a month away from one of the most popular annual events in Hendricks County -- Mayberry in the Midwest -- and this year's festival features a wide variety of events and activities that are sure to please every family and fan of The Andy Griffith Show.
The 2016 Mayberry in the Midwest Festival is being held on and around the historic Hendricks County Courthouse Square in Danville from May 20-22.
Here's a quick overview of what's on tap. With more specific preview stories to come in the next few weeks leading up to this must-see event.
Nationally-recognized tribute artists come to Hendricks County from all over the country to represent the Mayberry Deputy, Ernest T. Bass, Aunt Bee, Floyd, Gomer and many other beloved characters from The Andy Griffith Show.
On Friday, May 20 from 6-9 p.m. at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds, fans will have the opportunity to meet, greet and eat dinner with these tribute artists!
Kick off the Mayberry in the Midwest festivities on Saturday, May 21 at 11 a.m. with a Mayberry-themed parade through Danville! Who doesn't enjoy a parade, especially when you can witness a pack of Opies, characters from the show and a few other surprises.
Organizers told me that this year's parade will be the biggest one to date, so make sure you find a good spot on the parade route, which begins at the Hendricks County Government Center on South Washington Street turning west on Broadway Street to Cross Street and then north to the Courthouse Square.
Mayberry in the Midwest will feature live bands on stage on the Courthouse Square throughout the weekend, including the VW Boys, who provide an entertaining blend of bluegrass music, comedy and magic that the whole family will enjoy on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The free stage on the square also will have shows from the tribute artists, a Miss Mayberry contest and an apple pie and pickle eating contests.
NEW! Celebrity Basketball Game
New this year is a celebrity basketball game that will take place on Saturday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. This event will be free for everyone to attend, and the family will be entertained by the Mayberry tribute artists taking the court against some of our own local celebrities!
Mayberry After Dark
Returning this year is the popular Mayberry After Dark event that will be held on Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Mayberry After Dark is part pub crawl, part ghost walk, and it begins at Diesel's Sports Grille in Danville. Ticket-holders will then visit the Hendricks County Historical Museum and Pizza Paradise before arriving at the Royal Theater for a comedy performance by Phil Fox, also known as Ernest T. Bass.
To purchase tickets to Mayberry After Dark, click here.
Squad Car Nationals
Head over to the Hendricks County Government Center on Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m. for the Squad Car Nationals to see all sorts of restored classic vehicles made to look like the squad car from The Andy Griffith Show.
These events are in addition to an Opie Look-Alike contest, activities at the Hendricks County Historical Museum, a pancake breakfast, lawn mower races, and food and crafts vendors all through town.
Mark May 20-22 on your calendar for the 2016 Mayberry in the Midwest Festival, and be sure to "like" the Mayberry in the Midwest Facebook page to keep up to date on the developments leading up to the event.
Of course, keep your eyes peeled for more posts right here on Hendricks County Insider blog that will delve deeper as the event approaches!