Music flooded Main Street on Sunday as thousands of people strolled along the closed-off road for the town’s annual outdoor celebration.
Some 215 vendor booths lined the street, offering meals and desserts, arts and crafts, and information on local businesses and organizations.
While Andover Day came two weeks after it was originally scheduled — postponed from Sept. 7 due to weather concerns — organizers said the high temperatures and sunshine brought more than 7,000 people to downtown Andover on the last weekend of summer.
“Today’s all about community,” said Phyllis Riordan, vice president of the Andover Business Center Association, or ABCA, the group that hosts the event each year. “People are supporting downtown and community businesses. And it’s not just Andover people — it’s the entire Merrimack Valley.”
Downtown shops had their doors wide open for people to stroll in as they made their way down the street. It was a day that brought customers to local businesses that have struggled to gain back clientele after the Sept. 13, 2018, gas disaster.
The day was highlighted by performances from local bands and musical groups. Andover Vocal Music, a group from Andover High School, presented several songs and dances.
The 50-member group drew a huge crowd that gathered by a stage at the corner of Elm Street. Many people were dancing and singing along.
At the heart of downtown, in front of Old Town Hall, local officials occupied a booth and spoke with passersby. They welcomed the thousands of visitors to the annual community celebration.
“This day is important because it really pulls everyone together for one day,” said Select Board member Alex Vispoli. “It’s such a positive day, and overall it’s been great.”
On display outside Old Town Hall was the town’s first movable mural, painted by recent Andover High School graduate Marisa McCarthy.
The mural — titled “Welcome to Andover'' — tells the story of the town from both a historical and present-day perspective. The panels transition from black and white to color, and the images were inspired from those McCarthy found in books at the Andover Historical Society.
The Rotary Club, which was housed in the main parking lot on Main Street during the event, collaborated with Andover Cares, one of the club's initiatives. Rotary Club president Demetrius Spaneas said 17 vendors on the front-line of the opioid crisis were set up in the club's area.
Andover Cares is a group that raises awareness and works toward tackling substance use and addiction in the community.
At one end of Main Street, the Farmers Market grabbed the attention of many people, offering fresh produce and other seasonal favorites. Unsure if the Farmers Market would be at the event due to the date change, Riordan was thrilled to see the group there.
Ripe tomatoes, strawberries and blooming sunflowers were available for purchase for one of the last times this market season.
Riordan said the postponed date of Andover Day did not hurt turnout for the event, adding that about 7,000 people had strolled along Main Street hours before the day concluded. She said the new date was better for many vendors.
Hundreds of children filled the street with their siblings and parents, blowing bubbles and snacking on ice cream that melted in the hot sun.
“My favorite part is the face painting,” said 6-year-old Ella Downing of Andover, running to the booth to get in line.