STREET FAIR SIGNALS SUMMER’S END

Scenes from Sunday’s Street Fair in Red Bank. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Sunday’s balmy mid-70s temperatures brought locals out in droves to experience the eclectic collection displayed at the Red Bank Street Fair.

The annual event offers residents and visitors six hours of live music and 200 stands of crafts, clothing and flavorful foods – most of which have been dipped into a vat of frying oil.

This year was no different. Broad Street and Monmouth Street were overrun with excited kids in strollers, happy dogs on leashes, and adults of all ages eager to give the summer a proper send-off.

“We weren’t even planning on coming, but we were driving down Maple and saw it going on,” said Patty Russo of Red Bank. “We stopped for the food and the music.” She brought her 8-year-old son, Steven, who was sporting a blue balloon and a big smile.

Kids were not left wanting for things to do. A large inflatable slide was constructed at the entrance to the fair from Front Street to Broad, Paint a Tee set up a demonstration of its designed-by-customers t-shirt process in front of its new store on Monmouth Street, and one vendor allowed kids to try their hand at sand art. Two clowns passed out balloon animals and there were several stands offered face painting as well.

What couldn’t be found on the street could be found inside one of Red Bank’s own businesses, which, according to a couple of shop owners, typically experience an upsurge of foot traffic during town events like this.

“We look forward to this every year, it’s a good day,” said Christopher Midose, who does astrology and psychic readings at the Earth Spirit New Age Center. “We’ve also lucked out that no one has anything quite like our stuff outside.”

A few owners even go as far as buying the space outside their stores to display their own products so that no one else can block them.

Helen Graham of Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals utilized that move this year. “We figured it’s a gorgeous day, so we’ll put a table out. But that’s what it ultimately comes down to – we don’t want anyone else in front of our store. What’s funny is that we’re actually getting more people into the store than stopping at the table. A lot of people who are new to town or who are maybe just noticing us for the first time.”

Ultimately, it was the small town atmosphere that brought people to the streets.

“I like walking around and seeing people I know,” said Maggi Riordan of Middletown. And with Middletown’s schools starting Monday, she said it feels like the “last hurrah” of the season.