00.58.07 - Mark
This weekend is the overwhelmingly fun ::) Mayberry days. Hence, I've been happily hiding at home playing with my Macs. I've argued before on here why Mayberry driven tourism is bad for the area, but the simplest fact is that it is slowly dying, and I'm not just talking about the fans. The fact is one of the "official" events for this year's Mayberry Days is a showing of the Da Vanci Code (because it was directed by Ron Howard). Trivially stupid things like pie eating contests, kid sized train rides, and various brunches make up the majority of the festival. These attractions are better suited for the county fair (which, coincidentally, is taking place this weekend as well).
It would not be so bad if they did some thing creative, like Hannibal, Missouri does with it's Mark Twain Days but we don't. All we have are a handful of businesses that slapped some Mayberry reference into their names.
I'm not against using tourism to improve the community's economy, in fact I'm in favor of it. In a few weeks another festival will bring in hoards of tourists and a sea of people will form on mainstreet. Fried foods will scent the air and you'll hear bluegrass and old time music all around town. Autumn leaves is the type of tourism Mount Airy needs. Rather than cater to a small group of people, autumn leaves attracts people from miles around, drawing on the natural beauty of the area and its culture. Lifestyle and environmental tourism is sustainable, since it attracts more than geriatric TV watchers and nostalgic baby boomers.