thompsonYou never know who’ll be popping up this Sunday, when Thompson Park Day returns to the spacious park located just off Newman Springs Road.

Despite the best efforts of professional sports leagues and TV programmers to lure us all back into the great indoors, the extended season of fresh-air fun simply refuses to crawl into its burrow here on the Greater Red Bank Green. And this weekend promises two more all-ages events, designed to highlight civic pride and some wonderful natural assets in Sea Bright and Lincroft.

It begins Saturday, when the Sustainable Sea Bright Committee celebrates “The Little Town That Could” with the return of Sea Bright Day. The morning/ afternoon fundraiser event (9 am – 3 pm) commandeers the center-of-town municipal parking lot for a potpourri that features a craft show, book sale, historical postcard display, food, music, pumpkin decorating and other kid-friendly activities (like Bike Rodeo and Touch-A-Truck). It’s all in honor of what Mayor Dina Long calls “our town’s resilience and unique community spirit” — and it’s all for the benefit of the borough’s citizen volunteer committees. There’s a scheduled rain date of October 18; call (732) 208-9328 or email for more info.

From Sea Bright Day we transition to Thompson Park Day — an annual showcase for the all-season charms of Thompson Park, the flagship of the Monmouth County Park System and a super local site for hiking, running, tennis, canoeing and more. There’s plenty to do for all ages in the family-friendly Fall classic that returns to Lincroft this Sunday, October 18 between the hours of 11 am and 5 pm — a seasonal smorgasbord that includes everything from animal shows to pottery demos; the Diaper Derby and Zany Zombies; the Pie Eating Competition and Make Your Own Scarecrow Contest — as well as the 12th annual Strut Your Mutt Contest, in which dogs take center stage for the most popular Halloween costume contest on four legs. There are two doggie costume contests (12 noon and 3 pm), each a fundraiser for the Friends of the Monmouth County Parks organization; it’s $15 to register your pet, so take it here for rules and details.

Most of all, Thompson Park Day is a chance for individuals and families alike to acquaint themselves with the spacious grounds, lakeside trails and landmark structures of this local gem. There’s free admission and parking for all, and free activities for the day include canoeing on Marlu Lake (weather permitting), kids’ races, a corn maze, disc golf, mini-golf, and entertainment.

Other free offerings include the Meet the Mustangs, Dash for Cash, Zany Zombies and Discover Walnford. The children’s pie-eating contest is at 1 pm and the adults’ pie-eating contest begins at 1:15 pm. These contests are free, but registration is required and accepted in the kids’ race area.

Activities requiring two tickets are pumpkin painting, wagon rides, inflatable rides, archery, Turbo Tubs and Turbo Twister.  Activities requiring additional tickets are the Bungee Trampoline (3 tickets), Grab & Go Ceramics (3 tickets) and Fired Up Ceramics (10 tickets). Each ticket is $1.

The Scarecrow Contest runs from 11 am to 4 pm. Contestants are asked to bring a face and clothing for their scarecrow, while the Park System provides framing and stuffing. Prizes will be awarded, and event-day registration is available for $12 on a first-come, first-served basis ($10 in advance). To register in advance, take it here or call (732)872-2670, ext. 225.

Take it here for a full schedule of the day’s diversions — and keep it tuned to redbankgreen for more all-ages activity under the October sun this weekend, including the Red Bank CROP Hunger Walk and the 68th annual Red Bank Halloween Parade.