MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Some come for nostalgia and others visit to make new memories.
For years now, thousands of people visit Mount Airy to experience the Andy Griffith show. Andy was born there and a new documentary takes a look at why it’s become a mecca for fans, all these years later.
There are plenty of times in life when you wish there was a chance to hit pause and just be.
In the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains sits the small town of Mount Airy. A trip down main street may take you to the candy shop or over to Snappy’s Lunch for the pork sandwich. But for many people, this has become the place they’ve been looking for.
“People flock here. This is the mecca,” said Chris Hudson. “The Andy Griffith Show mecca.”
For the last five years, Chris’s life has been dedicated to Andy Griffith and the show set in the fictional town of ‘Mayberry.’
“You have your super, super Mayberry fans,” said Chris. “Then, you have your casual fans. Then, you have the people who just know the show. I’m hoping it’ll appeal across the board to all of them.”
Chris just released a documentary called, The Mayberry Effect.
In part, it explores how Andy’s home of Mount Airy has become the place for any and all Mayberry fans.
“When you realize it was that popular, they’re pulling people from other states into this little town, that shows the impact,” said Chris.
All over Mount Airy, you can find tributes to the show. But for many, it’s more than that.
“It gave me life. It gave me joy. It gave me happiness. I had to come,” said Jeannette Garnder.
It was a bit of a drive from Lexington, Kentucky, but Jeannette said she found her ‘Mayberry’ in the middle of a pandemic while caring for her terminally ill brother who passed away in May.
“I’ve never flipped it off and now I know every episode and I barely knew the characters when I was a kid. It was amazing, life-changing for me at a very difficult time,” said Jeannette.
Chris said fans of the show come to Mount Airy looking for something.
“It’s more about love than anything else,” said Chris.
And while there are plenty of tangible things they can take home, the one thing, universally found here is love.
Jeannette summed it up perfectly, right before she made the drive back home.
“Everybody needs to come to Mayberry, everybody needs to come to Mayberry and experience it just once.”