METHUEN — Thousands of residents turned out Saturday for the annual community-themed celebration known as Methuen Day, with residents enjoying food, music and fun all along Hampshire and Lowell Streets

Saturday’s turnout was a stark contrast from last year’s event — a scaled-down version held at The LOOP that adhered to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Last year, according to Methuen Day founder and East District Councilor Eunice Zeigler, virtual entertainment accompanied a drive-by pumpkin patch at The LOOP. This year, however, families were free to roam the streets to browse more than 75 vendors and enjoy food trucks, free entertainment and kid-friendly activities.

“Methuen Day is a way to reimagine what the downtown can offer and focus on arts and culture,” Zeigler said. “It’s really become a community staple we’re proud of.”

Entertainment stages bookended both ends of Hampshire Street.

Bella Perrotta kicked off Methuen Day with the National Anthem, before performing an acoustic version of “Hallelujah” on the main stage and other selections from Chris Stapleton and Ingrid Andress and an original called “I Salute You” throughout the afternoon.

Eleven-year-old Jake Santos of Methuen was among the vendors who had a booth at Methuen Day. At his booth, Jake’s Mission: Raising Stroke Awareness, residents could donate $5 and pick a prize.

The Methuen Veterans Department also sponsored a booth where residents could put on virtual reality glasses and experience a parachute simulation where they appeared to jump out of a plane 1,200 feet over Nicholson Stadium.

Methuen Day’s kickoff was preceded by a Field of Honor event at the Nevins Memorial Library, 305 Broadway. The display showcases 175 flags purchased by residents and community members in memory of those they love or lost and that display will remain up through Oct. 10.

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