Andover's 185th + 1 Anniversary festival

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
A submitted photo from a prior Festival in Andover shows people near the historic bandstand in Andover Lake Park where many of this year’s Festival activities will be held in Jun

The Covid-19 pandemic caused much cancelling, postponing and rescheduling of area events, including Andover’s 185th Anniversary Festival in 2020.

Members of the Andover Tourism Council and the Village Board have renamed this year’s event to Andover’s 185th Anniversary+One Festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 5, and Sunday, June 6.

Theme of the Festival is “Where Tradition Meets Progress” and events include a grand parade, fireworks, craft and vendor market, quilt show, tractor show, car show, entertainment venues, food, kids’ activities, demonstrations and more on Saturday, June 5. On Sunday, June 6, there will be an outdoor community worship service at 9 a.m. and a Salute to Veterans program at 10 a.m.

Denise Lily is coordinator of this year’s Anniversary Festival.

Anyone interested in registering for the craft and vendor market or to enter the parade is asked to visit andovertourism.com/ June Festival.

Proceeds from this year’s event will be used to help fund the Andover Historical Bandstand renovation project.

Ron Peterson, chairman of the Andover Tourism Council, said, “Andover is a community rich in history, and the home of the world-famous Jenny Lind Chapel, named after Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale. Founded in 1835, Andover is the oldest town in Henry County.”

Many of the Festival events will take place in the Andover Lake Park, which formerly was the Colony Square and was donated by Andover’s founders when the town was established, Peterson said.

“Two of the oldest structures in the park are the bandstand, (which originally was on the west side by the second two-story colony school built in 1860) and the jail, which was built in the early 1900’s to replace the original colony jail built in the 1830’s.”

The lake first was created in the 1920’s, when farmers came up with horses and drags to dig it out and to create an earthen dam on the north end, Peterson said. Since the earthen dam did not hold, a much stronger dam consisting of gravel, brick and foundation material was completed in 1931.

“This dam also was completed by volunteer labor from men of the village and farmers from the surrounding area,” Peterson said. “Loads of sand were hauled in to make a large beach area, bathhouses were built, a large diving board was built in the lake and a wooden bridge was constructed at the south end of the lake.”

He said the park was one of the best recreational areas for  es around Andover…”There was swimming, picnicking, fishing, baseball (where the famous Andover Terrible Swedes ball team played),Thursday night movies and Sunday night community church services in the summer months.”

From those early days the Andover Lake Park has grown to include three picnic shelters, modern rest rooms, fishing, tennis court, sand volleyball court, lighted baseball diamond, the historic bandstand for programs, a block-long Aisle of Flags for special holidays and War Memorial Markers.

Just west of the park are two historical buildings owned by the Andover Historical Society – the Andover Historical Museum and the Andover Woman’s League Building. . The Andover American Legion and Village Hall building are located just east of the park.

“All of those buildings will be open during the Festival,” Peterson said.