PAINTING, AND CLOTHING, THE TOWNS PINK

A profusion of pink explodes from local wardrobes this time of year, as evidenced by these pix from the 2011 Girls’ Night Out party in Pink Bank. (Click to enlarge)

It started six years ago, in a place called Pink Bank.

It quickly caught on in the nearby communities of Pink Haven (Fair Haven, that is) and Pink (Monmouth) Beach. And in 2012, you’ll find it happening everywhere from Pinkbury (Shrewsbury), Pinkson (Rumson) and Little Pink (Little Silver), to Pinkdel (Holmdel), Atlantic Pinklands (Atlantic Highlands) and possibly other coordinates on your G-Pink-S.

Beginning Friday, May 4, and continuing through May 12, Riverview Medical Center invites residents of the greater Green to participate in a campaign that’s designed to encourage women aged 40 and older to schedule an annual mammogram — as well as to fund mammography services to our uninsured and underserved neighbors — with a pledge to Paint the Town Pink.

If, as it’s been said, it takes a village to turn a town pink, then this year’s nine-day campaign promises to be “bigger and pinker than ever,” with a gala reception, celebrity appearances, large-scale public events, and the centerpiece of the schedulE: the mass “pinking” of homes all over this side of the Garden State Pinkway.

‘Apprentice’ winner and motivational speaker Bill Rancic (seen with wife and breast cancer survivor Giuliana) makes a May 7 appearance at the Count Basie. Below, line painter Mark Arnone laying down Broad Street’s pink strip in 2009. (Click to enlarge)

Having received their Paint the Town Pink Starter Kits from the event organizers, entrants in the house decorating contest have been busily planting lawn signs, raising flags, hanging up bows and ribbons, and using their imaginations to transform their domiciles into displays that range from respectful breast cancer survivor tributes, to playfully pink’d examples of creative energy. A panel of judges will visit all decorated homes on the first weekend of May, awarding honors in three categories (Most Creative, In Honor of a Survivor, Pinkest House) to registered entrants in each of the eight participating towns.

Meanwhile, hundreds of area business are expected to offer in-store specials and other special events keyed to the campaign, while scores of individual volunteers, community organizations, medical professionals and local officials will be working side by side in what’s being called “a grassroots initiative that is changing lives in very tangible and meaningful ways” — with the common goal of raising awareness of the importance of annual mammography.

With that in mind, the event organizers have called in the “Men in Pink,” the theme of this year’s campaign, and an acknowledgment of the guys who have played an integral part in Paint the Town Pink since its inception; from Mark Arnone (the man who’s painted that famous pink line down the middle of Broad Street every year since 2009) to Bob McKay, co-founder of Red Bank-based McKay Imaging and the “man behind the Pink Lens.”

On Monday night, May 7, the Count Basie Theatre will be the venue for a visit for another well-known Man in Pink, when Meridian Cancer Care presents An Unplanned Plan: An Evening with Bill Rancic.

Famous as the Season One winner of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice — as well as a motivational speaker, best-selling author, and the entrepeneur behind Cigars Around the World — Rancic is also familiar from the Style Network series Giuliana and Bill, the reality show that he shares with his wife, herself the co-host of E! News and Fashion Police. Having shared the details of their fertility issues with a nationwide audience (the couple is expecting a baby via a surrogate this summer), the Rancics announced in the fall of 2011 that Giuliana, who had been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, had undergone a double mastectomy.

Tickets for the 7:30 pm presentation — in which “Bill will candidly share his story of his marriage and family, his career, and his wife’s recent breast cancer diagnosis and all the unplanned things in life that happen when you are busy making other plans” — are priced at $39 general admission, with a limited number of VIP premium tickets (including a post-show cocktail reception with the guest) available for $100; take it here to reserve.

There’s much more to be found on the Pink slate, of course, beginning with a “Party for Pink” fundraiser gala at Middletown’s Navesink Country Club on Friday, May 4, and a “Pink Community Day” of activities and awareness at Riverview on the afternoon of Sunday, May 6. Meridian’s Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel will host the inaugural “Pink Zumbathon” on Saturday, May 12, and Red Bank nightspot The Downtown will get into the act with a special edition of “Girls Night Out” on Thursday, May 10. Full details and updates on each of these events (as well as about Paint the Town Pink in general) can be found right here, or on the organization’s Facebook page.

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