Little Ricky joins in the fun for Mayberry Days, Sept. 24-30

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 22, 2018

MOUNT AIRY — Keith Thibodeaux, who played Opie’s friend Johnny Paul Jason on “The Andy Griffith Show” and also played Little Ricky on “I Love Lucy,” will be a featured guest at the 29th annual Mayberry Days, Sept. 24-30, in Andy Griffith’s hometown.
It will be Thibodeaux’s first appearance at the festival. Dennis Rush, who played Opie’s friend Howie Pruitt, will also make his first visit to Mayberry Days.
Thibodeaux appeared in 12 episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show.”
The weeklong festival, which draws tens of thousands from across the U.S., pays tribute to Mount Airy’s role as inspiration for the idyllic town of Mayberry on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Mount Airy’s beloved resident Betty Lynn, who played Barney Fife’s girlfriend Thelma Lou, will be in attendance, along with Maggie Peterson Mancuso (Charlene Darling); Clint Howard (Leon); Ronnie Schell (two different characters); and several other actors from the show.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Marty Stuart brings his honky-tonk sound to the Andy Griffith Playhouse on Friday night. Stuart produced Andy Griffith’s 2005 gospel record, “Bound for The Promised Land.” Saturday afternoon, country artist Collin Raye will perform at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, and that evening The Malpass Brothers sing traditional country tunes at the Historic Earle Theatre.
A new addition to this year’s festival fun is the whistling contest. It joins Mr. Tucker’s apple peeling contest, the pork chop sandwich eating contest, the Chester Jones checkers tournament and other good-hearted games. Family activities, such as Aunt Bee’s bake sale, Pickleland, Mrs. Wiley’s tea party and the Mayberry Days parade, allow fans to reminisce about favorite episodes while making new memories.
Mayberry Days includes a week full of free and ticketed events. For a complete schedule and details, go to or call 336-786-7998.

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