Andover bells to Ring Christmas Eve

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
Steve Stone is shown by one of Andover’s oldest bells which he will ring at “Ring the Bells at Christmas!” event planned by the Andover Tourism Council.

Members of the Andover Tourism Council are hoping the village will be filled with bells ringing on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

Visitors are invited to join residents at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and join together in ringing bells for two minutes. Ron Peterson, chairman of the Andover Tourism Council, said the bell ringing is planned “to celebrate the holiday and to help people release pent-up emotions relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Anyone who wants to participate is asked to bring a bell to ring and park along the Andover Lake Park, which is filled with lighted Christmas displays.

“People can either stay in their cars or walk around the park, wearing a mask and social distancing,” Peterson said.

Two of Andover’s oldest bells will also be pealing that night. One of the bells, which was in Andover’s first two-story school, is 160 years old and is located on the grounds of the Andover Historical Museum, 418 Locust St., across from the park. It is said the bell was last rung in 1973 to celebrate the signing of the Vietnam Peace Agreement.

The other bell, located in the steeple of Augustana Lutheran Church, is 139 years old.

The bell-ringing event replaces what would have been Andover’s 39th Christmas Walk.

Visitors also are encouraged to drive around the village to see the many Christmas displays.