To the editor:

A kinetic sculpture powered by a bonfire, a birthday cake with three moving layers, a water-wheel powered rotating school house, a vision of local wildlife, a revolving cube decorated with incredible images of historic town buildings, and a water curtain proudly proclaiming “375” in lights were all on hand to celebrate Andover’s 375th birthday.

Why were they important?

They were created by a creative, imaginative and caring community from Challenge Me, Inc., Andover’s Destination Imagination program.

However, these floats were not just built by the kid DI-ers, but their parents, friends, relatives and team managers. A whole community came together to pull off something never before seen in Andover, Mass.: the illumination of the Shawsheen River.

We wanted to share with you the incredible work some of our town residents put into making “Andover Thrives at 375 Day” a real treat for all! When Ann Ormond, director of business, Arts and Culture, asked Challenge Me, Inc., to take on a huge challenge for the event — designing and building 6 floats that represent our town and our DI program in some way, and oh, by the way, use either fire or LED lights to illuminate the Shawsheen River — we had no idea what we were getting into!

When two of our long term Team Managers, Mo Johnson and Stephanie Barry, volunteered to chair the project, none of us realized what an undertaking it would become--a nearly full time job! The incredible magnitude of what they pulled off deserves genuine and heartfelt thank you’s from the entire town!

Share our journey here:

We are proud to be members of this Challenge Me, Inc. community that had to cope with weather, currents and safety concerns changing our plans at the last minute (only our giant birthday cake actually got into the river) and wanted to say to all of you who participated by building, designing, or supporting the float building and moving process that your hard work and dedication is valued, appreciated and you really helped make Andover Community Day special.

— John Vetere, President;

Stephanie Maze-Hsu, Town Coordinator

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