NORTH ANDOVER — North Andover will be celebrating the nation’s 238th birthday with vim and vigor.
That makes lots of sense, because after all, North Andover and the United States go back a long way. While the town was not incorporated until April 7, 1855, any loyal North Andoverite will tell you the town was settled in 1646 — fully 130 years before the Declaration of Independence.
Among other claims to fame, the first postmaster general of the U.S., Samuel Osgood, was from North Andover and his descendants still live here.
The town’s celebration of American independence will feature the two-day Fourth of July Festival on the Common and one of the most popular road races in the Merrimack Valley.
Ferdinand the Bull will be making his debut appearance in North Andover. Ferdinand is not a real steer; he’s a mechanical bull that has thrown aside many a daring rider.
Ferdinand is just one of the activities that will be offered by All About Fun, a company that provides entertainment at festivals and carnivals. There will also be a trackless train chugging its way around the Common, an obstacle course and a trampoline with a bungee cord, according to Cheryl Mallory, operator of All About Fun.
The Festival Committee, which organizes the celebration each year, apparently has a knack for bringing cattle to North Andover. A few weeks ago, during the Sheep Shearing Festival, also on the Common, Mombe, an ample Hereford dairy cow from Essex Agricultural and Technical High School, was the guest of honor for Cowpie Bingo.
“The mechanical bull will attract a lot of people,” said committee member James DiFazio. Mallory said there will be sufficient inflatable material around the bull to cushion falls. So far, the record for staying on the bucking bovine is 89 seconds, she said.