Unadorned, but not for long, this year’s holiday tree awaits its big moment in the courtyard of the Dublin House restaurant on Monmouth Street earlier this week.

One of the biggest, and certainly the jolliest, events of the year returns to Red Bank for its 16th edition Friday evening.

We’re talking about the hard-to-name series of mini-spectacles that begin with a Santa Claus-accompanied train ride into town, gather steam with a parade down Monmouth Street, go all sparkly with downtown tree lighting and culminate with the chummiest R&B-inflected outdoor holiday singalong money can buy.

And it’s all free.

Presented by Red Bank RiverCenter, the centerpiece Holiday Express concert kicks off at the corner of Broad and Canal streets, opposite Red Bank Catholic High, at 7p.


Joining bandleader Tim McLoone and his sprawling orchestra onstage will be the cast of Two River Theater‘s upcoming production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, offering a taste of the musical that opens December 15.

Here’s the sked:

4:30p: Santa & Mrs. Claus arrive at the Little Silver Train Station where they’ll be available for pictures.

6:25p: Train leaves Little Silver

6:26p: Train arrives at Red Bank

6:30p: Parade down Monmouth Street, passing the Christmas tree in the Dublin House Courtyard

7p: Holiday Express concert begins Broad Street,

Approx. 8p: Santa Arrival/Town Lighting

9p: Concert Ends

Broad will be closed between Harding Road/ Reckless Place and Monmouth Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 4 to 11p.

Here’s a bunch of pix from last year’ edition of this event.