Andover’s about to dive head long into the holiday rush.
One week from today, on Thursday, Nov. 22, is the 25th annual Feaster Five Road Race through downtown Andover, which is expected to attract as many as 10,000 walkers and runners.
On Sunday, Nov. 25, Santa will arrive on the back of a fire truck for the 58th annual Andover Firefighters’ Santa Parade.
Race organizers are encouraging runners and walkers to register online by 5 p.m. Nov. 17 at feasterfive.com to ensure their spot among the field of 10,000 for the popular holiday event.
After online registration closes Nov. 17, entrants can still register in person Nov. 19 to 21 at the Andover/North Andover YMCA, 165 Haverhill St., Andover and on the morning of the race at Woodworth Motors, 339 North Main St. in Andover. People can pick up their bibs and T-shirts at the Y on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of race week.
Hosted by the Merrimack Valley Striders and managed by DMSE Sports, the Eagle-Tribune Feaster Five Road Race’s 5-mile and 5-kilometer races will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the Kid’s Fun Run at 7:45 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22. The adult races begin near Shawsheen Square on Main Street in Andover, at the corner of Routes 133 and 28 and the Kids Fun Run is held on a nearby track called Lower Shawsheen. Runners can see proceeds from the race benefit Ironstone Farm, Merrimack Valley YMCA and the Merrimack Valley Striders.
This year entrants will receive a 25th commemorative technical shirt by Saucony, in addition to the traditional Feaster apple pie. The Feaster Five website features videos of the 5K and 5-mile courses as well as a training program for first-time runners, provided by the Merrimack Valley Striders.
Among the VIPs, the race will again welcome New England running legends Joan Samuelson and Bill Rodgers as well as father-son Team Hoyt, according to a release.
The Feaster Five is a community event that attract a variety of people, from serious runners to families and friends walking together in costume.
It features bands and music along the course, digital clocks posted at each mile, holiday refreshments after the race and, of course, a traditional apple pie for all finishers. The race provides free parking and a printed race program, courtesy of the Eagle-Tribune Publishing Co. Volunteers are needed. Detailed information about how to sign up to help on race day can be found on the volunteer page atfeasterfive.com/Volunteer or by e-mailing Crissy Licciardello at crissyL26@yahoo.com.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, on Nov. 25, people can line Main Street for the 58th annual Andover Firefighters’ Santa Parade, a longstanding town tradition.
The parade begins at 1 p.m. from the Park at the corner of Bartlet and Chestnut streets. The parade will take its usual route down Whittier Street, to Elm Street, to Main Street, ending on Punchard Avenue.
This year’s parade theme is “Snow Place Like Home,” according to the Andover Firefighters’ Santa Parade Committee. Awards will be presented to the individuals or groups who make the most creative floats. Santa makes his appearance at the end of the parade.
People wishing to participate or to help sponsor the parade can visit the official parade website at andoversantaparade.com, or they may call the parade line at 978-475-1281, Ext. 4002.
In case of rain or snow the event will be held Dec. 2.