This weekend is Andover's annual party in the park: the 45th edition of the Greater Andover Days celebration in Central Park.
With a theme of "Made in Andover," this year's event runs from Thursday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Sept. 30, with a schedule of activities to please the kid in all of us.
Fill your hunger pains with fabulous goodies at the food court, be a kid again at the carnival, use your imagination at KidFest, see the biggest parade in Andover, catch "the big one" at the fishing clinic, meet your local business owners at the business expo, cool off at the ice cream social, see the night sparkle at the annual fireworks show and watch our youth perform at the local schools and bands show.
Thursday's lineup, which features the Andover schools in concert at the Gazebo and the food court, will ease you into the rest of the weekend. And, of course, Ottaway Amusements will have a midway full of rides and fun beginning at 6 p.m.
Friday's highlight event is the VIP Tailgate Party with reserved parking (for $10) in the City Hall and Library parking lots. Bring your grill and fixings to enjoy while The Banned plays on stage from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. New this year will be a live telecast of the Andover vs. Andover Central football game.
Things get going Saturday with a 7 a.m. country breakfast at the Andover Senior Center. For lighter palates, Timbuktu will provide free coffee and doughnuts (while they last) beginning at 8 a.m. The big event of the day is, of course, the Greater Andover Days parade. It starts at 10 a.m. from 13th and Andover Road and heads south to Central and then east to Sunflower Elementary.
The parade officially kicks off a full day of activities in and around Central Park. Some of these activities include the carnival, KidFest, car show, pet show, fishing clinic, pig catch, ice cream social, and the ever-popular hot dog eating contest.
That evening, dance to the music of The Source or sit and converse in the beer garden. But be sure you are still in Central Park for the 8:30 p.m. fireworks show.
Things slow down Sunday, which begins with an 11 a.m. community church service at the Gazebo. The carnival runs through the afternoon, with the fun run/walk at 1:30 p.m.
Some events, like the Sunflower Elementary School Consignment Sale, take place all weekend. The sale will be at Sunflower Elementary, 616 E. Douglas, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. both Thursday and Friday, and from 9 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Greater Andover Days began 45 years ago as an effort to unify the citizens of Andover through a shared festival experience. First the Kiwanis Club, and then the Andover Chamber of Commerce, held the leadership role. In 2009 the city of Andover became the event's principle organizer.
GAD buttons are now on sale for only $3 at locations across Andover. You'll need one for admission to all the events.
For more information about Greater Andover Days, either visit the city of Andover's website at www.andoverks.com or call City Hall at 733-1303.