---- — When Jeanne Smith moved her shop to Main Street, Andover, last August, she quickly heard about Holiday Happenings.
Nearby business neighbors were already talking about the event that attracts people to shop downtown, even though the Holiday Happenings still was months away.
"I have been told it's crazy, so I'll be ready as best I can," said Smith of Sense of Wonder at 27 Main St., where Daher Shoes used to be. "It's a big deal for small businesses and I love that holiday excitement."
She relocated her business from Eaglewood Shops on Route 114 in North Andover and has been enjoying the downtown. "I just love it here," she said. "I love that I'm surrounded by other small businesses, not big corporations."
The popular Holiday Happenings event is hosted each year by the Andover Business Center Association. ABCA is a membership organization consisting of companies located in downtown Andover.
For the event, Main Street is shut down from Elm Square to Punchard Avenue, and horse-drawn wagons give free hayrides. There's a tree lighting with Santa Claus and musical entertainment.
Stores will stay open late on Friday, Dec. 7 and have lots of inventory on sale. For instance, consistent with a silver holiday theme, Sense of Wonder's sale includes silver jewelry by "Artist J" selling for 20 percent off.
Downtown stores usually offer customers refreshments along with sales prices during the event.
Even Santa gets involved as he arrives Friday night at 5 at Enterprise Bank on High Street and enjoys a breakfast and photographs at Faith Lutheran Church on Saturday morning, Dec. 8.
The town's holiday tree, located in the alcove at TD Bank on Main Street, will be lit at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7.
The annual decorated tree exhibit at the Andover Historical Society will be open for viewing during holiday happenings.
"It's our fifth year for the tree exhibit and we're thrilled to open our doors for this. Over 200 volunteers have made it happen," said Carrie Midura, of the Historical Society. "We've certainly got the holiday spirit."
HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS IN ANDOVER Friday, Dec. 7, 5 to 9 p.m. Tree lighting at TD Bank alcove on Main Street at 6:30 p.m. Hayrides and musical entertainment Stroll & shop along Main Street 30 decorated trees to see on exhibit at Andover Historical Society, 97 Main St. ($8 admission) Saturday, Dec. 8 Breakfast with Santa, 9 a.m. to noon, at Free Christian Church, 31 Elm St.; photographs with Santa are $7 Crafts, light refreshments, raffles