In the middle of Mayberry

I have a friend from Northern Virginia who teases me about living in the sleepy television town of “Mayberry” where friends and neighbors love to pull up a chair on Sheriff Andy Taylor’s porch an’ shoot the breeze. There are similarities, I admit… like not having to worry about locking the house up when I want to go next door to have coffee or take a walk around my “city” neighborhood. And I don’t know any people who hitch an anti-theft device to their steering wheel when they park in their own driveway.
    Charlottesville will be filled with Mayberry-like experiences over the next few weeks as the 53rd annual Dogwood Festival comes to town. This community-wide celebration brings together folks from all around for some good old-fashioned fun.
    Dozens of Dogwood events crowd the calendar from late March through April, including a golf tournament, the chicken barbeque at McIntire Park, a dogwood tree sale at Barracks Road Shopping Center, breakfast in Charlottesville (this year featuring emcee Mac McDonald as guest speaker), and other traditional affairs.
    The party really gets going, though, on April 16 with the kick-off fireworks, “Salute to Mr. Jefferson,” at McIntire Park at 9pm. A grand collection of amusement rides roll out that same evening at McIntire Park. Rides will open at 6pm on weeknights and 1pm on weekends through April 28.
    Folks with wee ones won’t want to miss the Children’s Character Fest at East Rivanna Fire House from 9 to 11am on April 20. Activities include face painting, balloon artists, crafts, games, and mysterious special guests. Tickets for this event are $5.
    But the thing my kids look forward to most is the Festival Parade on April 27. Beginning at 10:45am, marching bands, majorettes, clowns, and floats will wind their way from Water Street to 7th Street and down Market to the County Office Building. Miss Virginia, along with the Dogwood Queen and her court, will add splendor to the occasion.
Hey, you can’t get much more Mayberry than that!

A complete listing of all Dogwood Festival events can be found at Tickets for the various events that require them can be purchased at Gitchell’s Studio, Staples Barber Shop, The Daily Progress, and Tuel Jewelers.

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