ANDOVER — They’re back. Those smile-inducing, fun-loving merrymakers who make up the heart of the Andona Society of Andover. And they’re ready to once again transform The Park into the annual Clown Town celebration.

The popular event for young children and their families enters its 58th consecutive year tonight. And like all good traditions, it is staying true to its main purpose — to provide an old-fashioned carnival experience for local families while raising money to support programs that benefit the town’s young people.

Carnival rides, food and games will once again fill The Park downtown at the corner of Chestnut and Bartlet streets over the two-day event.

The fun begins tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. with the carnival rides, DJ and pizza.

Tomorrow, things really get rolling, with face painting, sand art, games, a yard sale and more on tap from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year, fun hair and face treatments such as colorful braids and curls courtesy of Salon Forza will be among the new attractions.

The carnival rides themselves are staying open later on Saturday only, and will entertain thrill-seekers until 8 p.m.

In the event of heavy rain tomorrow, activities will be postponed until Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

After a successful debut last year, the Wacky Candy Shack is back. The 20-foot mobile candy shop will be pulling into Andover for the event. Kids go in one door and out another with arms full of the sweet stuff.

“It’s a fun twist. Kids love it,” said Melissa Litton, vice president of Andona who is co-directing this year’s Clown Town.

This year’s field sponsors are Stop and Shop, Lannan Mazda and Master Shin’s Martial Arts.

The event typically raises nearly $35,00 and all that money gets pumped back into town for programs for kids, including $10,000 in scholarships every year to high school seniors, camperships to younger kids whose families need help paying for summer programs and grants to each of the town’s 10 public schools.

Andona clearly gives back to the community and Litton said that proud tradition lives on.

“We receive more requests (for grant money) than we can honor, many of which are related to arts enrichment and bullying prevention and inclusion of all students in the upper grades,” she said.

For more information, visit www.andona.org.

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