Andover ushered in the holiday season in a big way Sunday, combining its annual Santa Parade with its popular Holiday Happenings and tree lighting festivities to make for one spectacular, fun-filled afternoon.

Hundreds embraced Sunday afternoon’s unseasonably warm weather and lined Main Street in downtown to await Santa’s arrival. And St. Nick did not disappoint as he traded in his sleigh for his traditional ride on Andover Ladder Truck 2 courtesy of the Andover Firefighters Association, which hosted the parade for the 60th year.

Then, the crowds stuck around for the opening act of Andover Business Community Association’s Holiday Happenings celebration, featuring horse-drawn wagon rides, carolers, musical entertainment and more. 

Santa did the honors in lighting the town’s Christmas tree in the TD Bank Courtyard, followed by a new laser light show this year that was a real crowd-pleaser.

Downtown businesses opened especially for the occasion, welcoming shoppers with refreshments and other incentives to help them with all their gift-buying needs this season.   

But the fun isn’t ending there. The Andover Business Community Association continues its Holiday Happenings events this Thursday, Dec. 4, with a Shopping Stroll, followed by Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 6. Here’s a look at what’s planned:

Holiday Shopping Stroll

Thursday, Dec. 4, 4 to 8 p.m.

Downtown shops will be staying open late tonight and serving refreshments to welcome customers.

Mrs. Claus and the elves and Treble Chorus will also be greeting and entertaining shoppers who stop by Enterprise Bank on High Street starting at 4 p.m.  

Holly Nahabedian of the ABCA said many of the local shops will be offering great deals to attract shoppers.

Breakfast With Santa

Saturday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m. to noon

Families are invited to enjoy breakfast with Santa at Free Christian Church, 31 Elm St., Andover.

Children will have a chance to tell Santa what’s on their holiday wish lists and have their photos taken with him. A variety of arts and crafts projects will round out the fun. Plus, there will be holiday gift baskets raffled off as well.

Proceeds support the Andover High School girls varsity hockey team.

For more details on all the activities, visit the Andover Business Community Association website at www.andoverbusinesses.org.

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