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ON THE GREEN: SUMMER PARK ACTIVITIES

rb rgp yoga 091615 3Yoga, Pilates and zumba share a Wednesday night rotation schedule in Riverside Gardens Park. Below, vocalist Layonne Holmes joins the New Standard for a free concert there Thursday night. 

Layonne Holmes New Standard

Whether you’re on stay-cation — or simply navigating your way through daily life here in on the Greater Red Bank Green — there’s no denying that July offers a fairly awesome menu of open-air entertainments and recreational options. We’ve got a rundown of outdoor events — mostly free of charge — designed to entice you out of the house in the coming midsummer nights and days.

It all starts tonight, July 12, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of the gleefully anarchic animation “Minions.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, and enjoy some ice cream from the newly opened Gracie and the Dudes stand in the park. Take it to our redbankgreen roundup for details on the entire summer screening schedule and weather-related updates. Then take it around the bend for more fun and adventure beneath the summer sun and stars.

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MIDDLETOWN FAIR SETS UP FOR 73rd YEAR

St. Mary's FairPress release from St. Mary’s Fair Executive Committee

Regular readers of redbankgreen know the annual Fair Haven Fireman’s Fair as the August event that gives local families one last blast of summer fun before thoughts turn inexorably to school supplies and adjusted bedtimes. But on the other side of what we call the Greater Green — and at the other end of the school’s-out season — another eagerly anticipated carnival has been pitching its tent at the heart of community life for generations.

Back for its 73rd annual edition, The Great St. Mary Fair opens tonight, June 27, running through Saturday, July 2 on the grounds of St. Mary Mother of God Parish in the New Monmouth section of Middletown. Beginning each night at 6:30 p.m., the fair will feature rides and games for the entire family to enjoy.

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MIDDLETOWN: NANCY’S MUSICAL FIREWORKS

Nancy ScharffVeteran denizens of the greater Red Bank Green may remember Nancy Scharff for the annual Christmas extravaganzas she presented in seasons past at the Count Basie Theatre — some big joyous benefits that found the Middletown-based devotional singer, songwriter, musician, choirmaster, producer, conductor, and educator taking on yet another role: that of shepherdess tending to a flock of choral performers, orchestra members, rock bandmates, kid choirs, bell ringers, event volunteers and interactively inclined audience members that numbered in the hundreds.

While those logistically complex events have taken a hiatus in recent times, Scharff remains very much on the scene; as a faculty member with Red Bank’s Monmouth Conservatory of Music, as a busy music-maker who’s even been known to hit the sidewalks as a Red Bank Street Life performer — and as the long-standing music director at King of Kings Lutheran Church, the New Monmouth landmark that’s served as the globally touring artist’s home base for decades.

Nancy’s Christmas shows have long had a summer-season cousin in the annual God and Country Patriotic Concert, the 2016 edition of which returns to King of Kings this Friday evening, June 24.

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RED BANK: WHO’S UP FOR BASIE AWARDS?

MHSS American Idiot Ayo OladejiThe Middletown South production of Green Day’s “American Idiot” (above) score big in musical nominations — while RBR’s Patrick Monaghan (at right below, with Davis Bush) earned a dramatic acting nomination for “Amadeus.”  (Photo above by Ayo Oladeji)

Amadeus Davis Bush Pat MonaghanIt’s Red Bank’s own homegrown answer to the Tonys, the Obies, and any other major accolade for live stage performance. What else but the BASIES, the awards that honor tomorrow’s talents today — or rather this Wednesday, May 18, when the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank once again celebrates excellence in dramatic and musical productions among Monmouth County high schools, with the presentation of the 11th annual Basie Awards.

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MIDDLETOWN: FT. HANCOCK MEETING ON FRI.

Fort Hancock BuildingPress release from National Parks Service

Members of the public will be able to learn about and comment upon the efforts to preserve the historic structures at Sandy Hook’s Fort Hancock area, during a meeting of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee this Friday morning, May 13.

Scheduled for 9 a.m., and hosted in the auditorium of the Middletown Arts Center at 36 Church Street, this will be the first meeting after the signing of the first residential lease at Fort Hancock Historic Post (Building 21, pictured), and the last meeting before an Open House takes place of select leasing opportunities on Sunday, May 22.

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MIDDLETOWN: JOHNNY & JUNE CASH LIVE ON

Michael Patrick Ring of FireMichael Patrick and the Ring of Fire Band, along with guest vocalist Mary Lamont, perform the signature songs of Johnny Cash, below, and June Carter Cash  at Middletown Arts Center Saturday.

jc60-64Longtime residents of the Greater Green can tell you of times when Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash were spotted among the shops and stalls of Red Bank’s Antiques District, just two American music legends indulging their shared passion for collectibles on one of their many visits to the area.

Down in Asbury Park, where the Man in Black was one of a group of investors in the venerable Berkeley-Carteret Hotel back in the 1980s, a “Johnny Cash Suite” still designates the specially reserved local quarters of the Arkansas-born icon who kept a place in his heart for the Jersey Shore (and who made some of the most memorable contributions to the body of Bruce Springsteen covers).

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A SHOE-IN FOR MIDDLETOWN SOUTH ARTISTS?

shoe designersMiddletown South teacher Christen Tummillo, right, with student shoe designers. Front row: Evelyn Merino, left, and Caitlin Mendina. Back row: Megan Doyle, Courtney Walsh, Eric Molloy and Jesse Price.

Press release from Middletown High School South  

MHSS Vans shoesSeveral students at Middletown High School South received some exciting news recently when their shoe design entries were selected as semi-finalists, representing the Northeast Region, in the Vans Custom Culture design competition.

Vans Custom Culture is a national high school design competition that aims to raise awareness of diminishing arts education budgets across the country, and to help students express their #RightToArt. The winner of the final selection will bring $50,000 back to their school’s art department.

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MIDDLETOWN: HELPERS BEE QUILTING

Rebecca's Reel QuiltThis queen-size bed quilt created by the members of Rebecca’s Reel Quilt Guild will be raffled off on May 14, as part of the nonprofit’s fundraiser Quilt Show at Poricy Park.

Press release from Rebecca’s Reel Quilt Guild

The nonprofit Rebecca’s Reel Quilt Guild is proud to hold their biennial, judged Quilt Show, taking place Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14 10 AM at Poricy Park Conservancy, Oak Hill Road in Middletown.

Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. both days, more than 160 quilts will be on exhibit in four buildings, including the historic Murray Farmhouse and Barn. Quilts on display range from miniature to king size in a wide variety of styles, and a number of the quilts – including decorative wall hangings, lap and bed quilts — will be available for purchase. A queen-sized bed quilt will be raffled on Saturday, and numerous decorative quilted wall hangings will be raffled on Friday and Saturday, with a portion of the purchase prices and the raffle proceeds supporting the work of the Guild.

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MIDDLETOWN: THE POWER OF ARTS ED

GuildThe co-chairs of The Guild of Creative Art in Shrewsbury are among the individuals and organizations recognized by the Monmouth County Arts Council for their contributions to arts education, during a May 9 ceremony.

Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council

Each May, as the school year comes to a close, The Monmouth County Arts Council recognizes outstanding arts educators, arts organizations and arts advocates who support our mission of enriching the community by inspiring and fostering the arts in Monmouth County.

Sponsored by OceanFirst Foundation, the annual Arts Education Awards and Showcase will be held on Monday, May 9, and will be hosted at the award-winning, state-of-the-art facility of the Middletown Arts Center.

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M’TOWN: FREE DENTISTRY, OVER THE BRIDGE

Press release from Navesink Dental Care

For the eighth consecutive year, Navesink Dental Care will provide a day of free dental care to the people of Red Bank and surrounding communities, during the annual Dentistry From The Heart (DFTH) event on Saturday, April 30.

People from all over Monmouth County anticipate this annual event, during which Allan Ruda, DDS and Beth DeAngelis, DMD, and their  team of dentists, volunteer dentists, volunteers and sponsors all come together to provide free dental work at the Navesink Dental Care offices, located at 180 Route 35 South on the Middletown side of Coopers Bridge.

Free dental services are limited to cleanings, fillings and extractions, and DFTH will begin registration at 7:00 a.m.

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M’TOWN: CALLING KID CONSERVATIONISTS

Press release from Monmouth Conservation Foundation

It is a melancholy thought to imagine a world without butterflies, hummingbirds, or the flowers and plants that we depend on them to pollinate. Two of our most vital pollinator species, honeybees and butterflies, are in decline — a decline fueled by the development of our natural lands.

In response, Monmouth Conservation Foundation has created an awareness campaign to take action on the issues facing these critical species through the launch of Kids for Conservation/Project Pollinator. The project, which launched with a county-wide art student art contest, continues with two public-invited events, the first of which will take place on Friday, April 22 at Sickles Market in Little Silver.

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MIDDLETOWN: CHORUS HOSTS GALA, TRYOUTS

Fans of the sounds and styles of the 1940s are invited to join the Monmouth Civic Chorus on the evening of Saturday, April 30 for the annual Spring Soirée, presented under the theme “From Big Band to Broadway: Music of the 1940’s.” Hosted at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown, the evening includes a gourmet dinner, with entertainment by Chorus members in a cabaret setting. Guests will enjoy cocktails at the cash bar while bidding on the silent and chance auctions.

More than 100 guests attended last year’s gala, which raised over $11,000 to support concert production expenses. Auction offerings included vacation weekends, original artworks, handmade jewelry and scarves, local restaurants and entertainment, gourmet chocolate and coffee, yoga and spa sessions, gift baskets for babies and pets, and more. Early-bird reservations for the 7 p.m. event are $80 per person if received by April 25. Late reservations are $90, and may be accepted if seats are available; no reservations will be accepted at the door. Go  here or call (732)933-9333 for reservations and additional information.

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MIDDLETOWN: GARDEN AMBASSADORS WANTED

Press release from Monmouth County Park System

Deep Cut rose gardenDo you enjoy interacting with visitors and spending time in a beautiful setting? Then become a Garden Ambassador at Deep Cut Gardens. Located at 152 Red Hill Road in Middletown, Deep Cut Gardens is the Monmouth County Park System’s picturesque site dedicated to the home gardener, with 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses, highlighted by the distinctive pergola and featuring a visitor center as well as walking trails.

As a Garden Ambassador, volunteers will serve as a welcoming, informative presence on the grounds; guiding visitors to the many things to see on premises — and highlighting the year-round slate of activities for children and adults at Deep Cut, including drop-in storytimes, flower shows, seasonal plant swaps and composting workshops.

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ON THE GREEN: WARMING CHAMBERS

radiancechamberensembleThe Radiance Chamber Ensemble brings a ray of sunshine to the Middletown Library Sunday with a free program that celebrates winter’s frosty pleasures.

As last weekend’s positively polar plunge confirmed, winter is still very much a thing in this neck of the Greater Red Bank Green. But if the season of the single digits boasts of any truly elegant pleasures, it’s the ability to warm oneself in front of a chamber-music hearth while the outside world goes slipping and cursing about its business.

And the days and nights to come offer music lovers several opportunities to slip into something a bit more civilized; all of them free of charge. Read More »