Visitors to Mount Airy appreciate its Mayberry mystique and the laid-back lifestyle that represents — but an event here later this week will take this a step further by offering a trip to the farm, in a sense.
After all, the fictional TV town has had its share of hectic moments — when the gold truck pays a visit or during the occasional manhunts for criminals — which won’t be the case for Mayberry Farm Fest.
It will be held downtown on Saturday, after a tractor parade there Friday night to kick off the festival.
“I think people are looking for a slow-down pace and they get it with that,” Gail Hiatt, chief organizer of Mayberry Farm Fest, said of the event. It is aimed at giving the public a taste of the area agricultural industry both past and present.
The gathering provides a down-on-the-farm atmosphere even including animals, in the form of a petting zoo and pony rides to once again be offered by HDK Ranch of Jonesville.
“This is number 16,” Hiatt said of the popular event spearheaded by the Downtown Business Association,
Mayberry Farm Fest will occupy a section of North Main Street and adjoining areas Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The festivities will kick off Friday at 6 p.m. with the annual Farm Fest Tractor Parade.
“We’ve got probably 50-plus tractors registered and probably the most vendors that we have ever had,” Hiatt said of the outlook for both Friday and Saturday.
The parade will feature an adult segment, which typically includes many antique models, and a kids’ tractor parade that has been a hit over the years.
A highlight of Farm Fest activities Saturday will include music by two groups performing downtown, The Whitetop Mountain Band and The Twin Creek String Band.
Both specialize in old-time music that is conducive to the farming theme of the event.
The Twin Creek String Band is scheduled to play from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and The Whitetop Mountain Band, 3:35 to 5 p.m.
A clogging group also is scheduled to be part of the event along with square and line dancing.
“We’ve got all kinds of stuff for the kids to do,” Hiatt said, including the petting zoo/pony rides and more.
Mayberry Farm Fest usually includes displays of antique farm machinery, and a blacksmith will demonstrate his craft Saturday.
The Surry County Center of N.C. Cooperative Extension also will have a presence at the gathering, including a beekeepers exhibit and Master Gardeners representatives.
About 30 craft and other vendors will be on hand, selling such items as live plants, furniture made by a North Carolina couple, knives and additional products.
In conforming with the homespun flavor of Mayberry Farm Fest, all such offerings must be handcrafted or otherwise produced as opposed to someone buying items for resale.
“This year we have several new vendors,” Hiatt added.
About 10 food vendors additionally will be part of the event, including House of God with ground-steak sandwiches and Boy Scouts selling hot dogs.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Hiatt said of Mayberry Farm Fest, “and hopefully it won’t rain.”