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Making a ‘Mayberry’ moment

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Downtown car and truck show hopes to evoke spirit of fictional small town

By Molly Haines

Many will recall watching The Andy Griffith Show on television, but one local businessman hopes to bring the little town of Mayberry, N.C.  to life for a few hours around the Owen County Courthouse square.
During his 35-year career as a State Farm insurance agent, Richard Greene said he often asks newcomers to the community what it is that brings them to Owenton.
“The main vibe I get from them is that it’s a little slower paced here,” Greene said. “People are nice and they tell me, ‘People wave at me and they don’t even know me. It just kinda reminds me of Mayberry’.”
With that in mind, Greene has put together the Owenton Car and Truck Cruise, scheduled for June 14, with a Mayberry/1960s theme.
“Everybody likes old cars and trucks,” Greene said. “They all have a relationship with an automobile. It takes them back to when they were a kid – grandpa or mom and dad had a particular vehicle and it reminds them of a particular time in their life.”
Greene said he has received the support of the community, with one establishment transforming itself into the “Bluebird Diner,” a popular eatery for Griffith and his pals in Mayberry.
“I thought about (Family Billiards Restaurant),” Greene said. “It’s a big, blue block building and I thought, ‘That’s the Bluebird Diner’.”
Two antique shops, The Fillin’ Station and Peggy Rose Antiques will be open during the event.
Along with cars and food, Greene said ‘60s music will also be on hand.
D.J. Kevin Luther will be setup, playing a few recordings from one Owen countian who recorded local favorites in the 1960s.
Greene said he heard word of Billy Lathrem’s recordings around 30 years ago, but it wasn’t until last year that Lathrem shared a record with him.
“We’ve got our own recording star right here in Owen County and a lot of people don’t even know about these recordings,” Greene said.
Luther will play some of Lathrem’s recordings during the event, as well as “The Fishin’ Hole,” the theme to the Andy Griffith Show between records.
Greene said Lathrem plans to attend the event.
The event wouldn’t be complete without a Barney Fife, so Greene has enlisted the help of a Frankfort resident who also owns a replica of the squad car seen on the Andy Griffith Show.
Those in attendance can also enter to win door prizes.
“Little towns need something unique,” Greene said. “I’m just trying to have fun and do something for Owen County and if it takes off it doesn’t have to be a one-time event. We could always go to other communities in the area and do a similar thing.”
With the event taking place during Father’s Day weekend, Greene said he hopes this event will attract families to spend some time together and reminisce.
The Owenton Car & Truck Cruise will be held from 4-8 p.m., June 14, around the courthouse square.