It wasn’t so very long ago that July 3 packed an altogether different vibe than the relatively sleepy pre-holiday interlude we now get in Red Bank. But while the yearly KaBoom fireworks extravaganza last lit things up five years ago, up on Tower Hill, you’ll find another long-running holiday weekend tradition continues to make a glorious noise.
Now in its 28th annual edition,the First Presbyterian Church hosts the yearly Liberty Extravaganza and Strawberry Festival returns Sunday, offering up a selection of delectable homemade desserts and sweet, sweet American music.
The Strawberry Festival gets underway at 5 p.m. with a $5 pay-one-price charge for sampling the desserts. Meanwhile, in an encore engagement, Jersey’s own “jive, jump, wail” sextet the Hot Taters performs a free set of vintage jazz, Dixieland and New Orleans-style brass-band favorites.
The centerpiece of the event is the 7:30 p.m. concert of all-American patriotic marches, gospel hymns and popular singalong songs, performed by singers from First Presbyterian Church and the greater Red Bank community, joined by vocal soloists and a brass ensemble.
It’s a seasonal serving of such crowdpleasing corn-on-the-cob as “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “God Bless America” on the stage that hosts the sacred and secular sounds of the year-round Tower Hill Concert Series. And while admission is free, an offering will be accepted to support the series.
The evening climaxes with a salute to America’s armed forces and the traditional raising of the church’s very grand old flag, a sight as exciting as the flashiest fireworks display.
Doors open at 6:45 p.m. for the concert, with general seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. Early arrival is recommended — and more information on Sunday’s Liberty Extravaganza (and other public-welcome events at Tower Hill Church) can be had by calling (732) 747-1348.