The Guinness Oyster Festival returns Sunday for a “shuck and awe” day of food, beverage and entertainment that includes Tinton Falls pop singer Taylor Tote and band, below. (Top photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
As open-air diversions go in Red Bank, it’s the undisputed pearl of the season. And making its seventh annual stand, the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival returns to the White Street municipal parking lot Sunday for an event that, as the name suggests, pairs the fabled allure of the briny bivalve and dozens of other culinary seductions with the “Irish aphrodisiac” known as Guinness.
This being music-mad Monmouth County, there’s lots to love for aficionados of live sounds as well, with the day’s catch ranging from rising stars to the guys you didn’t know were behind some of the stickiest bubblegum pop hits of the 1960s.
Presented once again by Red Bank RiverCenter, the event known familiarly as “Oysterfest” raises a pint of stout while raising funds for two borough-based nonprofits — the Jane H. Booker Cancer Center at Riverview Medical Center and the early childhood programs at Monmouth Day Care Center — with a portion of proceeds also helping fund the ongoing events and programs of the RiverCenter partnership.
Running between noon and to 7 p.m., it’s an event that doesn’t lack for local flavor, as some 20 restaurants, caterers, eateries and desserteries — from Boondocks, Catch and the Chowda House, to Temple Gourmet Chinese and Tony’s Italian Sausage — offer up a strolling smorgasbord of epicurean eclecticism that’s augmented by the fresh clams, lobster rolls and, yes, oysters purveyed by Highlands-based favorite the Lusty Lobster. Take it here for a full list of food vendors.
There’s variety in the musical menu to boot. Between sets by the Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch, attendees will be treated to two outdoor stages’ worth of live entertainment that’s keynoted at 12 p.m. by Remember Jones, the celebrated and soulful showband fronted by the dynamic singer-actor-impresario Anthony D’Amato. Also on tap are the Snakes, a rollicking Celtic-flavored barband whose anthem “I Love St. Patrick’s Day on the Jersey Shore” was recorded at Red Bank’s RetroMedia studio (2:15 p.m.), plus ever-popular cover band kingpins the Nerds (5:30 p.m.), and a 6 p.m. closing set by Tinton Falls singer-songwriter Taylor Tote and band.
Take it here for a detailed schedule and band bios, and take particular note of the 2 p.m. West Stage performance by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, the 2016 edition of the studio-savvy combo whose cotton-candy pop confections from the transistor radio era included Number One hit “Simon Says,” “1-2-3 Red Light,” and “Indian Giver” — gold records all, and perfect examples of the kind of songs that were known to millions, even as the people who made them waited unrecognized behind you in line at Dunkin Donuts.
Naturally, the event won’t lack for the sublime stout whose name adorns the banner — and even after the last festival pint is pumped, the fleadh continues during the by-now-traditional afterparty at the Dublin House, commencing at 7 p.m..
Admission to Oysterfest is $5 for anyone over the age of 10. Attendees who arrive via New Jersey Transit buses or trains can show their ticket or pass for a $2 discount on an official Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival t-shirt, available for purchase at all event entrance gates.
Weather outlook for Sunday: sunny, with a high near 70 degrees, says the weatherbot.