The holiday season is here — and traditional holiday events for Andover families are set to begin.

They start Friday, Nov. 22, with the annual Holly Ball for little girls and their dads. The adorable couples will dance the night away starting at 5 p.m.

The pretty little girls, who are up to 10 years old, wear their holiday finest with their suited dads. Sold out weeks ago, there's always a wait list and this year's Holly Ball is no different.

"There are daughters, nieces, granddaughters who go," said Recreation Director Jessica Downing. "It's really popular as families make great memories."

Downtown's special holiday shopping event will be on Saturday, Nov. 30, and right after that Santa will arrive in his traditional Andover way — on a firetruck in the parade on Dec. 1 hosted by town firefighters. St. Nick has been arriving that way in Andover for many years.

The town's popular Holiday Happenings event will be held on Friday, Dec. 13. While the event is typically held on the first weekend in December, it was pushed back a week this year because of too many scheduling conflicts, said organizer Ann Ormond, who is director of business, arts and cultural development for the town.

"This is a community-wide event that will kick off the holiday season in Andover," Ormond said. "We're thrilled, especially when we light up the night with fireworks to celebrate."

Here are the detailed plans for town-sponsored holiday events:

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Town House at 20 Main St. There will be giveaways by small businesses and a "Find Picasso" scavenger hunt coordinated by KidCasso Art Studio of Andover. Participating children and their families will search for Picasso at participating downtown businesses.

The Santa Parade hosted by Andover firefighters is Sunday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m. on Main Street.

The Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt is Thursday, Dec. 12, from 6 to 7 p.m. at The Park. Rumor is that Santa hid hundreds of candy canes there. Participants are encouraged to bring a flashlight and a bag to hold the candy cane loot. Preregistration is required at the Recreation Department. This event is limited to 150 children and costs $5 per child.

The Holiday Happenings event is Friday, Dec. 13, from 4 to 8 p.m. Festivities will happen on Main Street and include a stilt walker, train rides for kids, horse-drawn carriage rides and photos with Santa starting at 4 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m., a parade will feature Santa in a 1929 Model A car as he goes to a tree lighting in front of Veterans Memorial Auditorium at Town offices. Fireworks conclude the event after the parade in the playstead behind the Cormier Youth Center.

"There will be lots to do for everyone who can do some shopping amidst the happenings,'' Ormond said. "Many businesses are staying open late.'' 

Go to www. for details.



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