scarecrow-thompson-parkThe annual scarecrow contest and pumpkin painting are just two of the family-friendly fall fun activities on tap this Sunday as the annual Thompson Park Day festival lights up the Lincroft headquarters of the Monmouth County Park System. 

thompson-park-dayThe all-too-brief Local Summer may be morphing into warm and fuzzy memories by this point, but as long as the daylight-savings sun continues to shine, the waterways and wooded paths of the Greater Red Bank Green continue to find ways to tempt residents away from the sedentary pleasures of TV sports and other great-indoors diversions.

As evidence, we offer up this Saturday’s Classic Boat Show on the Navesink (see story here) — and on Sunday, the annual return of Thompson Park Day.

One of the best-kept secrets of the autumn interlude, the long-running, family-friendly fall festival takes over the Monmouth County Park System’s home base in Lincroft for a full day’s worth of activities that include a chance to paint a pumpkin, climb a wall, Dash for Cash, and try your hand at skiing, canoeing, disc golf, archery or competitive pie eating — maybe even an opportunity to Strut Your Mutt or scare a crow.

Running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the recreational panorama also boasts live entertainment inside the park’s enclosed theater barn, with a menu that includes pop music from siblings Justin and Alina in addition to a Silly Circus and Halloween Magic Show. Balloon artists and stilt walkers will be among the specialty performers strolling the grounds of the park, just off Newman Springs Road. Best of all, it’s a chance for families to acquaint themselves with the four-season charms of Thompson Park, a fine place to take the young’uns, in addition to a super local site for hiking, running, tennis, canoeing and more.

There’s no admission fee and plenty of free parking on premises. The fun continues via such activities and attractions as canoeing on Marlu Lake (weather permitting), kids’ races, a corn maze, disc golf, mini-golf, pie-eating contests, and entertainment. Also on the free side will be square dancing (1-2:30 p.m.) and DJ Ed’s Dance Party (3-5 p.m), plus the Dash for Cash, STEAM Fun, Zany Zombies and Discover Walnford.

Several of the featured rides and activities require purchase of tickets, priced at $1 each. Two tickets are needed to take part in pumpkin painting, wagon rides, climbing wall, bounce house and archery, as well as the Mini Tea Cups and Twister rides. Activities requiring three tickets include the Bungee Trampoline and Grab & Go Ceramics, with participation in the Fired Up Ceramics sessions requiring ten tickets.

Day of event registration for the annual Scarecrow Contest is available for $12 on a first-come, first-served basis, with the contest running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Contestants are asked to bring a face and clothing for their scarecrow while the Park System provides framing and stuffing. Prizes will be awarded. Details and application form for the Scarecrow Contest can be found here, with additional details on the annual Strut Your Mutt Doggie Costume Contest available right here.

Take it here for a complete schedule of events and entertainment, plus a map of the festival grounds.