Flash back to the early 1950s and many young families were moving to Andover as Raytheon and Western Electric were hiring and young engineers were happy to get jobs there.
The wives often didn't know many other women with young children and most of them stayed home. A women's group was eventually founded in 1952, according to the Andona Society history files, and it proved to be a success as that women's group is still around today, 67 years later. Andona is still a great way to meet other young families in town.
Andona pledged to always raise money for Andover youths and it still does that. Andona got its name by combining "An" for Andover with "Dona" which is the Latin word for give.
Clown Town is Andona's biggest fundraiser. This year, it's happening Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 at The Park in downtown Andover.
"We are a non-profit organization made up of volunteers with the purpose of raising money to support Andover youth through grants, scholarships, camperships and more," says its website. "Andona has raised over $1 million dollars since 1952."
Beneficiaries include Andover Youth Center, Andover Vocal Music Association, a variety of high school sports teams and cultural clubs, camperships so kids in need can attend summer camp, AHS Senior Safari and five $2,000 college scholarships given annually to deserving Andover high school seniors
Clown Town has blossomed into a popular Andover tradition. What began as a little fair has expanded into a two-day, fun-filled event. Some come for an hour, or spend the whole day.
"Spring is here and Andona is gearing up for its 63rd Clown Town," said Renee Poor of Andona, who handles publicity. "We are ready."
This year’s Clown Town celebration opens Friday, May 17, at 6 p.m., with rides, carnival games, candy/snacks a DJ. The fun continues Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and along with the rides and carnival games, there's face painting, sand art/crafts, toddler/preschool games, slush, candy, coffee, pizza and more. There will be about 15 carnival rides, the majority of which are suitable for smaller children. Ride tickets may be purchased prior to the event in person at The Park on Thursday, May 16, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Clown Town still needs student volunteers. On Saturday, May 18, student volunteers in grade 6 and up, are needed for shifts in Andona’s field booths. Volunteer hours are in two-hour time shifts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Additionally, Andona needs high school students to help with field set up from 7:30-9:30 a.m., and field breakdown from 4-5 p.m.
IF YOU GO
What: Clown Town
When: Friday, May 17, 6-10 p.m.; Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; in the event of heavy rain, Saturday’s activities postponed to Sunday, May 19.
Where: The Park, Chestnut and Bartlet streets, downtown Andover
Cost: Free admission; charge for rides, games, food and some activities.
More information: https://andona.org