By Judy Wakefield
---- — It keeps growing and growing.
The annual Andover Day has become a don’t-miss event of the season. And this year, the huge downtown block party set for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. is promising to be bigger than ever.
Organizers of the community celebration and business showcase are anticipating record attendance,” with more than 8,000 expected to pack the downtown this year.
Not only have the crowds grown since the Andover Business Community Association first introduced Andover Day, but so have the number of vendors.
Because Andover Day attracts thousands of people, it’s become a popular event for businesses. So to accommodate everyone vying to participate, the ABCA upped the number of vendor slots from 129 to 160 this year and expanded the area they are located, allowing them to spill out from Main Street onto some of the side streets.
And even with that, the association still sold out all of its available spots.
“We’ve reached our maximum number of vendors for this year’s event. We are so excited,” event co-chairwoman Kathleen Bates said.
Main Street will be off-limits to cars between Elm and Locke streets for the festivities as vendors line the street for the day. In addition, vendors will be set up along Chestnut and Barnard streets this year and space on both sides of the old Andover Town House on Main Street will be used for vendors, too.
One side of Chestnut Street will also be turned into food truck alley and accommodate the various local mobile eateries.
In addition to the vendors, amusements provided by Fiesta Shows will fill Andover Village Square and Andover Historical Society’s weekly Farmers Market will expand out onto Main Street near Punchard Avenue.
Carrie Midura of the Andover Historical Society said while the farmers market typically closes at 2 p.m. on most Saturdays, some of the vendors are planning on staying open until the end of Andover Day at 5 p.m.
“We left it up to each individual vendor,” Midura said. “We love Andover Day. We get to showcase what we have and we are so excited to spill over on to Main Street.”
A main stage will feature three different live bands starting at noon and a second stage will highlight local and regional music, dance and theater, including acoustic rock duo Karen and Chris Payne-Taylor of Andover at 4:30 p.m.
“It’s just a great time for everyone,” Midura said of the event.
ABCA is a membership organization consisting of and managed by companies in downtown Andover. It aims to assist members with broadening their reach and to promote and enhance the business climate downtown. Members say they are committed to working together to make Andover a great place to shop, eat, work and live. Proceeds from Andover Day support that effort.
The rain date for Andover Day is Sept. 14. To learn more about the event, visit www.andoverday.com or check out the Andover Business Community Association on Facebook.