Img_1272The scene on Broad Street at the 2006 edition of the event.


There was that friend of ours who found a shrink-wrapped, never-played, original 1963 pressing ( released the day JFK was shot) of the Phil Spector Christmas Album, in a box of old discs at Jack’s.

More than one other whispered of a long-neglected storage space inside the old Kislin’s sporting goods emporium, where vintage leather jackets and mod 1960s accessories awaited discovery by a dogday-morning earlybird in search of some gear-grabber’s grail.

If you’ve lived in or around Red Bank for any length of time, you or someone close to you has just such a “sidewalk story.” And even if half of those tales are total hooey, it’s always fun to think that a truly historic get — a bargain in a box, a folding-table find, a street-rack steal — lies just past that lady blocking your view of the 2007 calendars and novelty napkin rings.

As the folks at Red Bank RiverCenter prepare to present the 54th edition of the annual Red Bank Sidewalk Sale this weekend, it’s making perfect sense to avoid the beach and do some sidewalk-surfin’ instead — with approximately 100 merchants taking to the streets in what’s being billed as “the best sale ever,” and dozens of dining establishments standing by to serve. There’s also live entertainment, courtesy of an expanded edition of the weekly Street Life outdoor concerts — and did we mention that parking on downtown streets and municipal lots is fabulously free for the duration of the event?

Goldenseal1Goldenseal will entertain shoppers from 12 to 3p outside Haagen Daz on Saturday.

Now more than ever, it seems, we could use a good sidewalk sale to clear the stifling stillness of the muggy midsummer’s air. With everyone this side of Gooch’s Gulch feeling a bit downmarket these days, it’s interesting to note that Red Bank — the same town where Ferraris lined the curbs just a few weeks back — should turn for salvation to one of the oldest of the old-school attractions. In many respects, this is your grandma’s Sidewalk Sale; with sun-blasted deals lying in wait for savvy spotters. And, even if you can no longer shop at Natelson’s and lunch at the Bow Knot — well, okay, Hinck’s — there’s much to be cherished in the wide world between Art of Play and Zuleyka’s.

You can scout sidewalk-side bargains along the entirety of the Broad Street business district, including the side streets of Monmouth, White, Mechanic and English Plaza — as well as Front Street, extending westward from Globe Court to The Galleria at West Front and Bridge Avenue. Official hours for the 2008 Sidewalk Sale are from 9a to 8p on Friday and Saturday, and from 10a to 5p on Sunday — but that, as they say, is not all.

On Friday, July 25, event co-sponsor 107.1 The Breeze will be dispatching their Breeze Van to the scene, providing a DJ soundtrack to the shopping frenzy and giving away merchandise between the hours of 11 and 1. July 26 offers up something special, as the weekly Bank of America StreetLife series presents a bonus early-afternoon edition of their summertime-Saturday free outdoor music offerings. From noon until 3p, shoppers can take in the sounds of Shore powerhouse band Goldenseal (outside Haagen Dazs), Murphy’s Six-String (in the courtyard at the Dublin House) and Catherine Cosentino, appearing at The Galleria.

Murphy’s Six-String returns, joined by the Piper Brothers, for a set outside Haagen Dazs as StreetLife resumes its regular Saturday evening schedule at 7p. Also on hand are Chris McKenna (of both the Ribeye Brothers and the Lunar Ensemble) at the Dub, Paul Pugliese at Ten Thousand Villages, Chris Kenny at Bellini Shoes, Bob Denson on the plaza outside Two River Theater, and a strolling Barbershop Quartet spreading some sweet Adeline around the streetscape. The music continues on past the official Sidewalk Sale closing time until 10p.

Need more information? Take it to the RiverCenter, right about here.

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