Mayberry Nostalgia Attracts Wine Lovers to Budbreak Festival
|Fruit wines at Slightly Askew|
|Barney Fife cuts a rug with locals|
Mount Airy, NC - Barney Fife was handing out citizen arrest tickets while Eric and the Chill Tones crooned in the background, and people danced on the sunny spring day. What could make the day any better? Having a sip of locally produced wines from the Yadkin Valley viticulture region.
The scene was Mount Airy’s annual Budbreak Wine Festival. This year the festival made beer lovers happy with the addition of craft breweries. Seventeen wineries and four craft breweries took over for the afternoon on Main Street in downtown Mount Airy, the hometown of actor Andy Griffith who came to fame portraying Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry.
Shops and restaurants downtown are part of the tourist attraction known as Mayberry. Lining Main Street are restaurants, bakeries and soda shops with Mayberry themes, Snappy Lunch where the famous pork chop sandwich is produced, and Old North State Winery. The iconic Earle Theater is home to old-time music, jam sessions, movies and other events. Just a block away is the Andy Griffith Playhouse and visitors center where actress Thelma Lynn (Barney Fife’s girlfriend) sees visitors monthly
The Budbreak event combines the nostalgia of Mt. Airy with the burgeoning wine and craft beer scene of the region. Sampling wines and beers, local art, and listening to music was on the agenda. The Mediocre Bad Guys band started the day off on a high note featuring legendary Rolling Stones saxophonist Bobby Keys. Keys is known for his instrumental on “Brown Sugar” and other Stones’ hits.
For the pale ale drinkers, newcomer Skull Camp Brewing Co. at Round Peak Vineyards in Mount Airy had the smooth tasting ale called Galaxy. Childress Vineyards under the helm of NASCAR owner Richard Childress showcased a variety of wine blends for any taste bud. Three Red varietal combines Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot for a slightly sweet finish with dark cherry and raspberry notes.
Fans of fruit-themed wines visited the Slightly Askew tent for tastes that are perfect for a day on the beach. Slut Dog Sin (Cabernet Sauvignon and raspberry), Crooked Toe Blues (white Zinfandel), and other fanciful drinks made a fan out of Gretchen Deruyta who traveled from Lake Norman to attend.
Morgan Ridge had the cure for what ails and a wine for every taste. Ales of the day were Bald Mountain Ale, Cotton Patch Gold, and Creek Bottom Pale Ale. Waldensian Heritage Vineyards had peach Bellini’s for a summer themed drink. Surry Cellars brought the expertise and education of Surry Community College’s viticulture program to the festival. Southern Charm Winery from Lincolnton had award winning wines for tasting. Editso Black is a Gold medal winner combining the taste of blackberries with Merlot. Herrera Vineyards from Dobson had seven verities for tasting. For an earthy wine with spice accents try Tannant is made from 100% tannant local grapes.
The sounds of music throughout the day set a fun and festive tone. The little festival that could –did in rare form. Music, fun and local wine and beer. It doesn’t get much better.