go_gold_nut_swamp_1As part of their annual “Go Gold” week during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the generous families, teachers, and staff of Nut Swamp Elementary School PTA in Middletown collectively donated $4,635 to TheTruth365 (via Infinite Love For Kids Fighting Cancer). The money they collected will be put to use by a network of researchers and oncologists in their ongoing quest to develop new treatments for kids fighting cancer. The students — who purchased themed bracelets, emojis and pencils, and wore gold or yellow to support the cause — were left feeling empowered, knowing that they can make a difference. 


flagswestminsterThe annual Field of Flags tribute returns to the Westminster Presbyterian Church beginning this Saturday, October 15.

Press release from Westminster Presbyterian Church

For the fifth year, the annual Field of Flags memorial tribute will take root once again at Westminster Presbyterian Church (WPC) on Saturday, October 15.  The moving tribute to honor the fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan will return to the Great Lawn at WPC on Tindall Road in Middletown beginning at 9 a.m., when  members of the congregation and the community will gather to place 6,860 flags (compared to 6,841 placed in 2015) to honor every military person who has sacrificed their life in those conflicts.

Area residents, scout groups, and civic organizations are all encouraged to stop by between 9:00 and noon, and set down a flag in memory of a family member or friend who has lost their life in service to the country. The month-long tribute will remain on display and be disassembled after Veteran’s Day, on Saturday, November 19.

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100514 beast blessing11Reverend Ophelia Laughlin blesses a dog, during a past St. Francis Day event at St. George’s-by-the-River in Rumson. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

It began several years back as a simple observance of St. Francis Day; a “pet blessing” ceremony conducted in the spirit of the patron saint of those furry, finned, feathered and variously phylum’d creatures with whom we share this planet and, often, our lunches.

But such was the response to the annual Blessing of the Animals at St. George’s-by-the-River, that the Episcopal church in Rumson soon found itself  accommodating some 200 dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, birds, goldfish and numerous other species; up from “30 to 40” at the event’s onset — even flirting for a time with a monthly pets-welcome service in the church’s Parish Hall.

On Sunday, October 2, the historic house of worship on Waterman Avenue again welcomes pets of all shapes, sizes and breeds to be blessed individually by the clergy — with dog owners requested to keep their pets leashed, and even those without an animal companion welcome to attend the service that commences at 2 p.m. Call St. George’s at (732)888-1194 for additional information — and read on for more about another St. Francis observance here on the greater Green; one that’s grown this year to encompass a separate satellite event.

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Dip a toe into the first wave of “zero waste” art…stick a finger into the winds of environmental activism…try one’s hand at any of the many recreational pursuits of coastal life as Local Summer continues apace on and near the ocean, bay and riverfront shores of our local parks.

The people at the Monmouth County Arts Council define “zero waste” art as that which uses all available materials; creating new objects of beauty and inspiration from formerly discarded castoffs — and when the first-ever Zero Waste Arts Fest comes to the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook this weekend, September 17 and 18, there won’t be a wasted moment or a wasted opportunity for family-friendly fun. Going on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, the festival highlights partnerships between locally based artists, art galleries and environmental activism organizations, as well as an interactive “live art” project coordinated by Lisa Bagwell (whose recycled-materials sculptures are a colorful and clever commentary on our disposable consumer culture). There’s live music (from Red Bank’s Rockit Live and others), kids’ activities, informative displays from a host of partner organizations, plus giveaways, shuttle bus tours of the Hook, and a whole lot more (including an after-hours Saturday night “1940s swing event” under the stars). Take it here to the All Good section of redbankgreen, for full details on events and entertainers, plus a complete rundown of participating co-sponsors and presenters.

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gyp_35_retKate Pentek is the child vaudevillian who grows up to become burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee as the classic backstage musical ‘Gypsy’ comes to the Count Basie stage for two weekends. (Photo courtesy Phoenix Productions)

basie-gypsy-091416The waning weekends of summer are traditionally a prime time to dust off your first-night finery and head back to the “theatah.” And even as Red Bank’s resident professional stage company, the Two River Theater, opens its new season with “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the Greater Green’s three community troupes (that’s Phoenix Productions, Stone Church Players, and Monmouth Players) also are ready to raise the curtains on a variety of entertainments.

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Thornton Wilder One ActsThe Monmouth Players serve up an appetizer for their upcoming season at the Navesink Arts Center with a program of one-acts by the celebrated playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder, below.

Thornton WilderIt seems, at first glance, a summer-surprise coda to the recently wrapped 2015-2016 season of the area’s longest-established community theater company, Monmouth Players.

But when producers Paul and Lori Renick turn the key once more on their homestage space at the Navesink Arts Center in Middletown Saturday, they’ll actually be sounding a keynote to their upcoming 2016-2017 slate of shows.

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basie fields 052516 1Count Basie Field (above) is the setting for a day of “play ball” and picnicking organized by Lunch Break this Saturday…while Middletown’s New Monmouth Diner calls in the classic cars (below) for a Monday evening fundraiser.

Diner car showFrom the files of redbankgreen‘s All Good section come several reminders that the season for doing good doesn’t take a vacation during these dwindling doggy days of summer — and that the mornings and evenings ahead continue to offer still more ways to walk, run, cruise, or even head-first slide into serving the greater good.

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Taylortaylor-girls-1aThis weekend, rising-star singer and songwriter Taylor Tote of Tinton Falls will be performing at an unusual venue: the “Headdens Corner” headquarters of Middletown Fire Department Company 1/ Station 8 on Route 35. It’s there that she’ll be shooting a video for her new song “Fighter,” an anthem dedicated to cancer survivors of all ages — and created with 9 year old Hannah Gorsegner, whose 6 year old sister Natalie Grace (pictured below left with Taylor and Hannah) is herself a survivor. Backing Taylor for the occasion will be a chorus of 20 kids (all of whom have waged their own battles with cancer) and an all-star assembly of local firefighters. Take it here for more background on the song and video, slated for release in September (with all profits dedicated to childhood cancer research) — and here for details on a Natalie Grace’s Wish Event fundraiser, scheduled for October 6 at Tim McLoone’s Pier House in Long Branch. 


rb movies park 072616 2Outdoor movie screenings and canoe rentals highlight a week of outdoor offerings in local parks.

Thompson Park canoePay no attention to those displays of back-to-school supplies, and put aside all thoughts of pre-season football, post-season baseball, and campaign-season roller derby. Yes, the summer of 2016 is still a thing (even at the Rio Olympics, where technically it’s winter), and the parks, beaches and portable stages of the Greater Red Bank Green still offer a plethora of open-air entertainments and recreational options in the coming days and nights — almost all of them free of charge.

It begins tonight, as Shore Flicks returns to Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens with an 8:15 p.m. screening of a truly golden oldie, 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz.” Bring a canned food donation with those folding chairs and beach towels, pick up some cooling seasonal treats from Gracie and the Dudes, and enjoy Dorothy and the Dudes as they once again undertake the screen’s most memorable road trip. Follow Shore Flicks on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information on weather-related cancellations or other schedule changes (including a recently added batch of fishy features at Sea Bright’s Municipal Beach) — then take it around the bend for more fun beneath the sun and stars.

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MHA golf classicPress release from Mental Health Association of Monmouth County

On Monday, August 29, the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHA) will present its Annual Golf Classic and Cocktail Party, as part of MHA’s continued efforts to raise awareness and necessary funds for the free mental health services that MHA offers to members of the military and all families in Monmouth County.

Hosted at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown, the event highlights MHA’s mission of promoting mental health and wellness and improving the care and treatment of persons affected by mental illness. This mission is accomplished through MHA’s strength-based innovated program, education, advocacy community partnerships, and the shaping of public policy.

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For the Love of Sea GlassRumson’s Guy Fleming does it “For the Love of Sea Glass” when he shares his “adult storybook” in a Thursday appearance at the Middletown Library.

Two authors, two very different books, each telling an inspirational tale that’s grounded in the sands of our local shoreline. And beyond the pages of these two recently published works, there exists a personal backstory of love, loss, self-discovery and reconciliation — one that should resonate with anyone who’s ever felt like a fragmented object, cast adrift on a vast and chaotic sea.

When Middletown Public Library hosts the latest in its ongoing series of author appearances Thursday evening, it will offer readers a double-header book signing event that spotlights the skills of two writers who make their home on the greater Red Bank Green: Guy Cash Fleming, a retired pharmaceutical industry professional whose “For the Love of Sea Glass” represents his first published work — and Yolanda Navarra Fleming, the young veteran journalist who collaborated with Leo Cervantes on the local restaurateur’s engaging memoir “Chilangos in the House: The True Story of a MexiCAN.”

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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