While Red Bank remains an ever-evolving entity — sometimes at a brisker clip than a lot of longtime locals are prepared to digest — one summertime signifier of community life has been soldiering on, uninterrupted, for a frankly amazing 60 years. And in 2014, the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale marks its diamond anniversary with a three-day thriftarama that takes a look back at some of what’s made this town so great and unique.
Think about it: back in 1955, President Ike was dispatching the first U.S. advisors into an obscure place called Vietnam. The Brooklyn Dodgers were gearing up to finally make “next year” a here-and-now reality. School-age kids were promised trips to that new Disneyland place, if they’d just hold still for the equally new polio vaccine. Folks from nearby communities such as New Shrewsbury flocked to the Carlton Theatre to see James Dean light up the screen in East of Eden. And the Red Bank Register reported that the town fathers were planning a study of the ongoing downtown parking issues (let’s hear one for continuity).
Those decades of borough history won’t be trampled underfoot, as scores of shoppers take to the sidewalks of Broad, Monmouth, Front and White streets in search of figurative “diamonds” — that bargain in a box, that folding-table find, that street-rack steal. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Red Bank Rivercenter celebrates the occasion with a “trip down memory lane” — and a rolling out of the welcome mat for some exciting new additions to the Sidewalk Sale scene.
New to the promotion in 2014 are such recent Red Bank arrivals as the Spice & Tea Exchange, Be Barow, Doc Shoppe, Victoria Beauty Lounge and Angel’s Gowns — and they’ll be joining several generations of downtown merchants (more than 60 in all) for a strolling smorgasbord that unfolds between 10 am and 8 pm on July 25 and 26, as well as 10 am to 5 pm on July 27.
According to a press release by RiverCenter, “throughout town, our fine store windows will feature historic photos, thanks to Dorn’s Classic Images and PowerHouse Signworks. In addition, we are very excited to announce a special pop-up gallery/museum to be located at 27 Monmouth Street [the former Wooly Monmouth shop] during the hours of the sale. There will be Red Bank photos, memorabilia, artwork and more on display from Dorn’s Classic Images, the Red Bank Public Library, artwork from Penny Ticehurst, the Red Bank Fire Department and other private collections. Come hear about the oral history project now going on with Elizabeth McDermott from the history room at the Red Bank Public Library on Saturday, July 26th at 2pm.
“This new initiative is working to capture all of the memories and history of our cool little town first hand,” the organizers continued. “Come see how you can be a part of it! Be sure to check out our website and our Facebook page for exciting additions to the gallery.”
Continuing a relatively recent tradition, the sidewalk/ storefront entertainers of Red Bank StreetLife will present a special session of performances on July 26 from noon to 3 pm, returning at 6 pm for the weekly Saturday night specialty (an edition that includes what’s being described as “some great 50s themed fun”).
Among the performers: a handful of students from the borough school system’s strings program, showing off their chops with some folk tunes and hoping to raise some money to save the program from the budget axe. They’ll be outside Toad Hollow, at 9 Monmouth Street, starting at 2 pm Saturday.
Take it here for deep detail on the 60th Red Bank Sidewalk Sales, including a full schedule of Saturday’s Street Life entertainers and a complete list of participating Sidewalk Sale merchants.