This story has been updated.

This is it — the big celebration that lures everyone to the center of town.

It's time to get ready for Andover Day.

The annual event is a chance for the town to shine, and this year's version will have a record number of vendors offering visitors plenty to choose from.

The 12th annual giant block party on Main Street will happen from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22 — and it's free.

Cars are prohibited on Main Street between Elm Street and Punchard Avenue for the day as walking dominates this event. Thousands of people — there were nearly 10,000 last year — are expected to stroll the downtown to visit some 215 vendor booths on Main Street, up from last year's 200 booths.

Visitors will be able to enjoy live music and festival food while browsing from one booth to the next. Vendors will represent local community groups, businesses and services. Vendors will also be located on Park and Barnard streets.

This year, there is a big change for young families. There will be no amusement rides for young children in the parking lot at Andover Village Square. That lot has been taken over by Andover Cares, a group formed by the Andover Rotary Club to raise funds to battle the opioid epidemic. Between 2014 and 2016, Andover lost more than 20 people who died because of substance use. Several vendors will provide resources to help families dealing with addiction.

That sobering theme will be balanced by the festivities that are planned, organizers said.

"Andover Day is another great event for families,'' said Phyllis Riordan of Andover Business Center Association, which hosts the event each year. "Everyone loves to visit all the local businesses in one location and showcasing what Andover has to offer is what we like.

"We love opening Andover and sharing all the town has to offer,'' she said. "Andover Cares will also be joining this year's event with all their resources.''

Here's what you need to know with as Andover Day approaches:

LIVE MUSIC: Three bands will perform on the event's main stage in Elm Square — Perfect Crime at 11:30 a.m., Booty Vortex at 12:45 p.m. and Analog Heart at 2:45 p.m.

A SECOND STAGE: Lots of community entertainment will be featured throughout the day in front of The Savings Bank at 84 Main St.

FOOD: Lots of easy-to-carry munchies including popcorn, fried dough, pizza and ice cream will be available at the usual spot near CVS.

FARMERS MARKET: Will be open at its usual location in front of 97 Main St., Andover Center for History and Culture.

DOWNTOWN RETAIL STORES: Will be open. Some businesses will offer special deals for Andover Day.



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