While it doesn’t really qualify as a “best kept secret,” the annual Creative Arts and Music Festival in Lincroft does keep a bit of a low profile, relative to such parking-lot-packers as last weekend’s Red Bank International Beer Wine and Food Fest.
But if your idea of a mid-spring’s afternoon is to enjoy a comfortably paced introduction to some of the Greater Red Bank Green’s most inspired purveyors of sight and sound — mixed with ample breathing room, free admission, and plenty of free parking — then Saturday’s daylong happening at Thompson Park could be just the pre-season appetizer you’re looking for.
Presented by the Monmouth County Park System (and hosted at the agency’s hometurf headquarters off Newman Springs Road) the event goes on rain-or-shine between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Condensed into a single day for 2017, the festival still manages to offer up a weekend’s worth of visual art, crafting expos and vendors, along with a Plein Air Painting Contest and a slate of nine musical acts, hosted in three barn/tent venues.
A strolling smorgasbord of nearly 30 creative individual artists and studios — including such perennial local favorites as Grace Modla, Michael Scherfen, and Mike Quon — will display their wares and vie for awards in a juried competition. Among the creative folk performing live art demonstrations in the park’s Creative Art Center studio and other designated locations are Greater Green fixture Gerda Liebmann, the Swiss-born multimedia artist who curates the monthly art series at the Oyster Point Hotel (and who will be offering a close-up look at her creative process between 1 and 2:30 p.m.).
Returning for 2017, and judged once again by Anthony Migliaccio, the plein air painting competition is divided into two groups: adults, and students of middle school through high school age. Competitors are asked to bring a blank canvas to be marked at the registration booth between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Artists must bring their own supplies and can create any landscape scene from Thompson Park in any medium during the festival, and each group will have a winner who receives a $50 gift certificate to Red Bank’s local-landmark art supply store Colorest (there is no charge for entering the competition).
Then there’s the soundtrack to the visuals: a full schedule of music makers who will be entertaining at the park’s Theater Barn, Activity Barn, and a Music Tent pitched for the occasion. Performers include longtime jazz-pop favorite José Loo and his band (Music Tent, 3 p.m.), dual headliners Dave Vargo and Kim Boyko (Theater Barn, 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.), and Shore singer-songwriter-storyteller George Wirth with Dan Toye (Activity Barn, 12:30 p.m.).
A detailed schedule of performers and a complete list of participating art vendors can be found right here — and more info can be had by calling (732)842-4000, ext. 4343.