The kind of parade George Bowden dreams of: scads of bunting throughout town, with perhaps a giant balloon strapped to the roof of a motorcar, as seen in this undated photo from Helen C. Phillips’ “Red Bank on the Navesink.”
The celebration of Red Bank’s 1908 designation as a borough kicks off with a parade through the heart of town on Saturday, May 17, followed by a free picnic for residents at Count Basie Field.
A day of maritime celebration follows on Sunday, with an armada of boats on the Navesink River, a flyover of ultralight airplanes and activities and displays in Marine Park.
“All of a sudden, things are coming into pretty fast focus,” says Bowden.
Johnny’s Jazz Market on Shrewsbury Avenue, we’re told, was the first store to get the bunting up. Ralph ‘Johnny’ Gatta “is really excited about the parade,” says planning group member (and co-Bunting Boy) Ed Zipprich. (Knowing Johnny as we do, we half expect his bunting to quickly become scrawled over with the names great jazz artists.)
A centennial newsletter with details of the two-day festival has been printed for mailing to every home in town, and thousands of postcards have been given out for counter display at stores. Posters advertising the event are also being distributed.
Here’s the newsletter: Download RB_Centennial_newsletter4A2701.pdf
All the printed material is decorated with the centennial logo at right, which was designed by Red Bank Charter School eighth-grader Alexis Holiday.
Planning for the order of marchers in the land parade is being wrapped up, as are details of the riverside events, organizers say.
All that’s left is for homeowners to bedeck their houses in red, white and blue and to start crossing their fingers that the weather cooperates. Because of the logistics involved, no rain dates have been provided for the events, says Mayor Pasquale Menna.
“I’m calling my mother to hang out the rosary,” says Zipprich. “That’s a family tradition when we’re hoping for good weather.”
Among the highlights of the festival:
Tiffany & Co. has restored a historic silver trophy created in 1892 to commemorate the winner of the match races between the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club and the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club.
The Tiffany silver trophy will be on display in a window of the company’s Broad Street store starting next Friday, May 16.
The cup was last won by the NSIB&YC’s Rocket, an ice yacht that sailed from 1888 to the 1920s and was recently restored in exacting detail. This magnificent piece of craftsmanship will be on display at Marine Park Sunday.
The land parade and picnic. “Four or five floats and lots of people marching” are slated, says Bowden. “We’ll have a guy in stilts dressed as Uncle Sam doing the entire route.” Throw in some antique cars and a marching band, and you’ve got the parade that Bowden has been yearning for.
The parade kicks off at 11a at Globe Court at East Front Street, heads down Broad Street to Monmouth Street, and thence across town to Bridge Avenue. From there, it heads south to Drs. James Parker Boulevard, and then east to Pearl Street and into Count Basie Field, where a townwide picnic will be held. Foodtown is putting on the spread at its own expense.
Monmouth Boat Club and the Maritime Heritage Association, in conjunction with the Red Bank Centennial Committee and other maritime groups, have coordinated the parade of boats, which begins at 1:30p on Sunday, and will be visible from Marine Park and Riverside Gardens Park, among other locations.
A cannon salvo from the Monmouth Boat Club will signal the start of the parade. The boats will be led by rowing shells and canoes from the Monmouth Boat Club, the Navesink Rowing Club, the Red Bank Charter School and the Red Bank Middle School.
At 2:30p, weather permitting, there’ll be a flyover by eight ultralight planes.