If this is Independence Day weekend, it must be time for redbankgreen‘s annual KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink Survival Guide: all you need to know about getting into Red Bank, enjoying the fireworks and related entertainments, and getting back out safe and sane on Saturday, July 3.
Our standard advice applies as always:
Get here early, find a parking space and relax in town for five or six hours. Red Bank is packed with great restaurants and people-watching spots.
Be prepared to walk to your chosen viewing spot from outside the downtown. Walking is good for you.
Take a breath after the show ends. There’s no need to race to your car because you’re probably not going anywhere right away.
But getting to what you really want to know, herewith are some common questions about the biggest event crowdwise, by far, to hit Red Bank and neighboring towns each year (estimated attendance along both banks of the Navesink is 150,000).
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET INTO RED BANK?
Walking, biking or by mass transit. NJTransit will be selling day pass tickets at $6 each along most of the North Jersey Coast Line south of the Raritan River. Riders are strongly urged to buy the tickets in advance to avoid delays in leaving town after the fireworks.
If you’re driving, there’s ample parking downtown and on the periphery to those who arrive early. All others may find themselves scrambling.
WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO ARRIVE?
By late afternoon, at the latest, if you’re driving.
The road into Marine Park will be closed to vehicular traffic at 5a (not that you were really thinking of getting here that early). Access to other roads leading to the park, specifically Wharf Avenue, Boat Club Lane and Union Street, will be closed at 4p. All vehicular access to the central downtown area will be closed off at 6p. No cars will be allowed north of Harding Road/Reckless Place between Maple Avenue and Spring Street after this time. See map, above.
At 7p, southbound traffic across the Cooper Bridge (Route 35) will be narrowed to a single lane. At no time, however, will the entire bridge be closed.
Those requiring emergency access to Riverview Medical Center should notify a police officer at any barricade for assistance. The roads will reopen after the show, but spectators should plan to stay in town for a while or have a one to two hour wait in traffic.
WHERE SHOULD I PARK?
In metered spaces and metered lots at White Street and east of Broad Street, where rates are $1 per hour; enforcement officially ends at 6p.
KaBoom has spaces at the Two River Theater on Bridge Avenue, just south of West Front Street, for $10, with proceeds going to offset the fireworks show.
The Red Bank Middle School parking, on Branch Avenue just south of Harding Road, lot is charging $10 a car for parking. Proceeds benefit the class of 2011.
Handicapped parking spaces are reserved at the Red Bank Public Library, but there aren’t many.
We’re still checking on the availability of public parking at the Globe Court garage opposite Riverview Medical Center and the Red Bank Corporate Plaza, on West Front at Pearl Street.
WHERE CAN I WATCH THE FIREWORKS?
Marine Park and Riverside Gardens Park are the most popular places, with thousands of spectators spreading out blankets and beach chairs on the grass. Picnicking is allowed, but alcohol is prohibited, and the police are warning of “zero tolerance” this year.
The slope on the river side of the Red Bank Public Library is also lovely and has a great view.
The Red Bank Elks Lodge, next door to Riverside Gardens Park, has a dead-on view, and for just fifty bucks per person you get all you can eat and drink (draft beer/wine). For tickets, stop by or call the club at 732.741.9771.
If you’re feeling particularly generous, KaBoom hosts a $175-per-adult ($50 per child) VIP pig roast catered by Delfini’s in a cordoned-off area of Riverside Gardens Park. That starts at 5p. (Friends of Kaboom parties in sequestered areas of Maple Cove and Marine Park are sold out.)
For those who don’t mind standing, or having someone standing in front of them, thousands of satisfied spectators watch the fireworks along Maple Avenue, West and East Front streets and Broad Street, even though there’s a scrim of buildings along Front that partially obscures the view.
Warning: the crowd outside Riverside Gardens Park is about as dense as they get. Claustrophobics are advised to look elsewhere.
WHAT WILL IT COST ME?
Not a penny, if you’re an utter cheapskate and freeloader. This is a community event entirely supported by donations. So please throw a few dollars in the yellow buckets you’ll see being shaken by volunteers.
Or, impress your friends by texting a donation. Simply send a text to 20222 and type the word “textgive” to make a $10 donation to Kaboom. You get a quick reply asking you to confirm by typing Yes. Shortly after that you get a confirming message that you have made a $10 donation.
WHEN DO THE FIREWORKS START?
Weather permitting, the first shell will be launched at about 9:15p. The show will last for approximately 30 minutes. Musical accompaniment will be broadcast on Q104.3.
WHAT IF THE WEATHER IS IFFY?
Bite your tongue! Seriously, the National Weather Service is forecasting a sunny day and a mostly clear night, with temperatures getting down to about 66 degrees.
But, just in case, a rain date has been scheduled for July 4. This date will only be invoked only in extreme circumstances due to the logistics and manpower involved in producing the event. Otherwise, officials will wait for a break in the cloud cover and go forward with the show.
Please do not call the Police Department for updates on firework information, these lines need to remain open for emergencies. Instead, call 732.345.0885 or listen to Q104.3FM and other local radio stations for updates.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY OUT OF TOWN AFTERWARD?
Patiently. If you thought traffic coming into town was bad, wait until you see this. A 90-minute crawl is not unheard of.
Really, the best thing to do if you drove here is wait. That’s why the live music at Marine Park and the amusement rides on West Front will continue until 10p: to entertain those who contribute to the traffic flow by staying out of it.
WHERE DO I GO TO WHINE THAT THE FIREWORKS IS AKIN TO THE END OF CIVILIZATION?
Feel free to post a comment below!