“It,” of course, is the holiday season, which starts hereabouts on Friday evening, not long after the leftovers from Thanksgiving have begun to chill in the fridge.

This is one of Red Bank’s big events, drawing thousands of townspeople and visitors to the central business district for an event that RiverCenter secretary Michael Warmington describes as “absolutely magical:” the simultaneous lighting of all the holiday lights downtown as well as those on the big Christmas tree, followed by an open-air concert by Holiday Express.

As it was last year, the tree is in the Monmouth Street courtyard of the Dublin House, just around the corner from the site of the concert stage on Broad Street.

The weather forecast for Friday night is for clear and cold, with temps in the upper 20s. Prrfect!

Thing get started for the young ones with a hot-chocolate event at the Little Silver train station featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be available for photographs. That’s followed by the Santa Express train ride from the Little Silver station to Red Bank’s at 6:15p.

The train arrives just in time for a parade to Broad Street for the 7p start of the concert in front of Garmany.

Broad Street from Harding Road to Monmouth Street will be closed to vehicles at 4p. Peters Place from Broad to Maple Avenue will be closed at 1p.

Also on Broad Street, at St. James R.C. Church, volunteers from Lunch Break will be accepting donations of non-perishable groceries, gift cards and money. (Food donations may also be dropped off at Lunch Break’s cafeteria at 121 Drs. James Parker Blvd., from 10a to 1p, Monday through Friday.)

The festivities continue on Saturday from 12 to 3p, and every Saturday at that time through Dec. 22, with carolers, choirs, brass bands, rock, folk, jazz & blues musicians out on the downtown sidewalks.

And on Sunday, dozens of stores will feature live mannequins, courtesy of Barbizon Modeling, from 1 to 4p.

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