If you’re a Mayberry kind of person who
enjoys old-fashioned fun and music, you want to be in Danville,
Indiana on the third Saturday of each month from June thru
September for Summer Sounds on the Square. You will feel like
you took a time machine ride and emerged in Mayberry, the iconic
small town home of the Andy Griffin Show.
lucky enough to visit recently on a Travel Media Showcase post
trip and loved the concert, the people, the town and the food.
Levi Riggs was the artist appearing on August 15th when I was
there. He's a local boy made good in the country music field.
His first single, My Best Friend’s a Girl reached #52
on Billboard Indicator. What makes that so spectacular is that
he recorded the song on his own label. It’s not often an
independent gets that kind of recognition. When his 2014
single, I’m Good reached #46 status on Billboard, it
proves Levi Riggs really is good.
|Levi Riggs singing right at our
him in action at the Summer Sounds on the Square where he did
covers of some old classics like Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison
and Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman convinced me he really
is even better than “good.”
own music rivals the old favorites. My Best Friend’s a Girl
rings with authenticity, a necessary ingredient for a great
Country Music star. The song is about his wife, Brittany, who
succeeded in talking him into a Disney World honeymoon. His
There’s Still a Place for That reflects his own lifestyle.
While rising fast in Nashville’s Country Music stars’ galaxy, he
still maintains his “day job” as sales manager for Syngenta's
Garst Seed Company. Even his record label, which he called
Windridge Records, is named after his family’s Jersey dairy
|Levi, his sister, Lauren and
brother-in-law, Joey, preforming at the Royal Theater for us.
further convinced me that his “county boy” image is authentic
when he put on a pre-concert show for just us travel writers at
the Royal Theater before the show. He posed with any of us and
answered our questions about his life and career. He travels and
performs with his sister, Lauren, who backs him on vocals and
his brother-in-law, Joey, who plays a mean lead guitar. Other
members of the band are Jay Brooks, rhythm guitar, banjo,
mandolin, vocals; Ben Frost on bass guitar; Derek Maish on drums
and Bethany Smith who can give Charley Daniels a run for his
money on her very hot fiddle. During the concert performance,
Levi sometimes roams among the audience as he sings. He gave us
all a thrill when he bounced atop our table singing
Pretty Woman. There
is a real hint of Johnny Cash in his style.
|The Royal Theater, perfect small
town renovated theater
city of Danville has more than a hint of Mayberry in the air.
The concerts are held on the square in front of the
courthouse. Folks bring lawn chairs or sit on a few picnic
tables that are on site. The entry fee is small, only $5 for
adults and free for anyone under 21.
|Can't you just see Andy and
Barney crusing around in this? It's parked in front of
the Mayberry Cafe
The streets around the square are Mayberry-esque.
The historic museum is the old jail and sheriffs‘home. When we
arrived, we were greeted by none other than Barney Fife, The
Mayfield deputy, who rushed out to give all of us “tickets” AKA
autographed flyers. Aunt Bee ushered us inside the museum to
offer us home baked cookies.
|Barney and Aunt Bee great us in
front of the Sheriffs' home and jail.
museum recalls earlier times, several different eras actually.
There are tow kitchens, one reminiscent of the early 1900s and
the other firmly planted in the 1940-50s time frame. Both are
fun to visit. The older one had the old wood stove and crank
phone that really brings Mayberry to mind. In addition, the
sheriff’s office, parlor and the family’s bedrooms take you
back, some arranged as they would have been in the late 19th
|Aunt Bee just baked us some
cookies in the sheriffs' home mid-20th century kitchen.
The old jail would have reformed me had I had the
misfortune to land in it. It is stark and not designed for
comfort. Tiny cells with metal bunks and a toilet comprised the
|How would you like to spend the
night in the "ladies section" of the jail?
home and jail was built in 1866 and in use until 1974. It also
includes a military room, a Normal College Room featuring the
old teachers’ school which was located in Danville, and the
changing exhibits room. When I visited it featured an exhibit
about Clifford C. "Click" Relander, a Danville native who became
famous as an expert on the culture of the Indians of the Yakima
Valley in the Pacific North West. His collection was huge and I
was fascinated by the artifacts particularly the arrowheads.
|Dining with the local folks at
the Mayberry Cafe.
Barney, whose real name is David Browning, hung out with us at
dinner at the Mayberry Café and entertained us with “Barney”
stories and events from past Mayberry in the Midwest Days which
is coming in May and will feature him as well as many other
re-enactors who bring back fond memories of Goober and Gomer,
Floyd, Otis and the rest of Mayberry. Karen Knotts will be there
to entertain with reminisces of her famous father.
|It's such a real down home kind
places that made us welcome and added to the Mayberry feel were
the Royal Theater where Levi entertained us, Diesel’s Sports
Grill that served some killer Burn Out Nachos, unique Beer
Batter Cheese Curds and a Fish Taco that was packed with
everything but the kitchen sink. Mayberry Café makes you feel
like you are really in the iconic town. The fried chicken rivals
anything Aunt Bee might prepare. Owners, Brad and Christine
Born, have been cooking Mayberry food here for 27 year so they
have had a lot of practice. The restaurant grew out of their
love for the Andy Griffin
Show and they were the instigators of the Mayberry in the
Midwest Festival. The Bread Basket Bakery and Café filled us
with more homemade pies and cakes that you could imagine.
|Mural on the wall at Diesel's.
Danville throws a street party you won’t soon forget.
|Just a sampling of the goodies
Bread Basket Bakery and Café
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