Classic TV references will abound in May when an event sharing its name with one classic show — The Happy Days Tour — comes to the setting of another classic show: Mayberry.
Mount Airy will be the home base for 50 vintage Chevrolets from April 29 through May 4 when the 10th-annual Happy Days Tour comes to town. The tour, sponsored by Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA), is open to all 1955 -1993 Chevy and GMC vehicles. It moves from one area of the country to another as different regions of the sponsoring organization are in charge.
“Last year’s tour was in Michigan,” tour spokesman Tom Inman, of Stuart, Virginia, said of the National Happy Days Tour. It is one of many national and international tours sponsored by VCCA.
The Blue Ridge Region is in charge for 2018 and owners of vintage Chevrolets will drive through Southwestern Virginia and Northwestern North Carolina, making excursions as far afield as Charlotte.
Unlike a car show or a cruise-in where cars remain static, parked on a street, these vehicles will tour the area after arriving in Mount Airy on the last Sunday in April.
The next day, the vintage Chevys will travel to Charlotte, where their drivers and passengers will visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Billy Graham Library.
On Tuesday, April 1, the vintage Chevy drivers will take in some Blue Ridge scenery on the Southwestern Virginia section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, including Mabry Mill, one of the most photographed sites on the parkway.
On Wednesday, the tour will visit Pilot Mountain, and on Thursday, May 3, will take up residence on Main Street in Mount Airy, where tour participants will travel down memory lane as they visit Andy Griffith’s hometown, according to information on VCCA’s website.
“We’ll reawaken Mayberry memories of pork chop sandwiches at the Snappy Lunch Diner, Floyd’s Barbershop, Andy’s boyhood home and the Andy Griffith Museum,” tour information promises.
“The best place for the public to view the vintage cars will be on Thursday, when they’re in downtown Mount Airy,” said Inman.
“One side of the street will be blocked off for the cars,” said Jessica Roberts, director of Mount Airy Tourism Authority, “but we don’t know yet which side. We alternate the closures so as not to always block the same stores.”
“We’re expecting about 50 cars,” said Inman, “but there could be more. “We have 43 signed up already, and registration is open until April.”
“We blocked 53 rooms at the Hampton Inn, and 43 have been reserved so far, so we’ve got 10 more.” Inman said with a laughed. “Some of us are procrastinators.”
“I’m glad we’re becoming a destination for car groups,” said Roberts. “We’ve got several others coming in this year. They will be a big economic impact for our town.”
Membership information for Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA) can be found at their website (vcca.org) For tour pre-registration (required), contact Sam Smith at 276-728-3301 or email email@example.com.