Just like the line in Field of Dreams promised, Bob Scheib built it - and yep, they came.
Four years ago, Scheib, a lifelong fan of “The Andy Griffith Show,” built a copy of Wally’s Gas Station - a landmark in fictional Mayberry - on his farm outside Bradford, Ohio, near Troy, about a 1-1/2-hour drive northwest of Columbus.
Fans of the sitcom flocked to Scheib’s shrine, and the Mayberry Squad Car Rendezvous was born.
On July 13, Scheib and members of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club plan to sponsor the fourth annual rendezvous. The event draws hundreds of Andy Griffith fans from across the United States and Canada, Scheib said.
“There are other reunions with stars of the show and fan conventions, but a lot of them are held in hotel ballrooms,” Scheib said.
“Here, we’re surrounded by cornfields - it is Mayberry. It’s like 3-D.”
Highlights of the 1996 rendezvous include an evening show by Don Knotts, who played Deputy Barney Fife, and appearances by series regulars Ronnie Schell and Arlene Golonka.
The day’s events include hay rides, music and checkers contests, along with competitions for Mayberry look-alikes, theme-song whistlers and Mayberry trivia experts.
“An Evening With Don Knotts” will include stand-up comedy, film clips and a question-and-answer session with the audience.
“I’ve watched the show ever since I can remember,” said Scheib, 37. As for the annual fest his enthusiasm spawned, he said, “We’ll keep doing it as long as the spirit of the show is there.
“It’s really just taken off. It’s unbelievable.”
Or as Gomer (who worked at Wally’s) would say, “Ga-a-a-a-w-lee!”