Brian Kirk and the Jirks — the veteran Shore partystarters who’ve never been shy about taking their act outside — headline the slate of live entertainment at Riverfest 2014, the three-day fantasia of food, folks and fun that commandeers Marine Park beginning Friday evening.
It’s a matchup of sounds, sights and savory flavorings that seems a natural fit to a pre-summer’s weekend on the banks of the Navesink. And, when the fourth annual edition of the revived Riverfest pitches its tents and stages at Marine Park for another three-day stay that kicks off Friday night, it’s as if that whole decade-long layoff never happened.
A presentation of the Eastern Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce with Hoboken-based This Is It! Productions — and an event with roots in the modestly scaled Red Bank Food Festivals of yore — Riverfest came rolling back in 2011, having spent most of the Noughties exiled from the park by the Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival. While that event relied on out-of-town food vendors, however, the present-day ‘fest puts the emphasis primarily on a more local base of restaurants, caterers and purveyors.
It also represents a more diverse sonic smorgasbord of sounds, with live mainstage entertainment spotlighting such party-percolating favorites as JoBonnano & the Godsons, Motor City Revue, and Brian Kirk & The Jirks. There’s also a Rock the River Stage programmed by the Asbury Park-based nonprofit Musicians on a Mission, and featuring a full schedule of regional acoustic acts.
Other returning features include a stroll-through “artisan’s alley,” river cruises, rides and activities for the kids, as well as displays by Ford and other major sponsors. New to this year’s event is a display for The Big Bite Tour, an interactive attraction making the rounds of food festivals across the continent here in 2014.
Admission to Riverfest is free of charge, and no pets are allowed in the park for the duration of the event. Hours for Riverfest 2014 are Friday 5 to 10 pm, Saturday 11 am to 10 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm. Take it here for a list of participating food vendors, and here for a complete schedule of live music acts.