The Red Bank Community Block Party returns for the annual West Side neighborhood reunion with a slate of events that include a Friday night preview and a Saturday night after-party.
As reported here on redbankgreen, it started as a get-together among a group of longtime Red Bank friends – West Side friends, specifically – who wanted to see each other in a happier sort of setting than just the occasional funeral.
Five years on, the Red Bank Community Block Party has grown from a best-kept-secret affair to one of the most anticipated hometown events of the summer months. And, when the party gets going this weekend, it will extend not only beyond its staked-out block of Drs. James Parker Boulevard, but even beyond the borders of a single Saturday.
The third annual Red Bank Community Block Party attracted over 500 present and former residents to Drs. James Parker Boulevard Saturday. Music, handicrafts, food, children’s rides and information booths greeted the all-ages crowd.
“I think we were actually closer to a thousand,” said party committee president Eddie Russell. Attendees came from Virginia, the Carolinas, Maryland and as far away as California, as well as nearby towns. (Photos by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)
Generations of former and present Red Bank residents gathered on Drs. James Parker Boulevard over Saturday for a block-party style “family reunion,” complete with street fair food, jewelry for sale and a band composed of longtime friends playing together just for the occasion.
“Everybody was really raised by a village when we were younger,” said Patty Lewis, who now lives in Ocean. “That’s what makes this so special.”(Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)
Dale Bass-Weems helped organize a family reunion block party on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, shown in the background, on Saturday.
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
When Dale Bass-Weems, Anita Daniels and Jennifer Bennett three childhood friends came back to visit Red Bank last year, it was on the worst of terms. A friend had died, and they were reconnecting with a lot of their old pals in a funeral home.
It was a watershed moment for the three women who grew up on the West Side.
“We decided we were tired of coming home for a funeral. Why can’t we come back for better reasons?” Daniels, now of Asbury Park, said.
Red Bank officials plan to close portions of Drs. James Parker Boulevard between Shrewsbury and Maple avenues for paving Friday and Monday, the borough said in an alert Thursday afternoon. Detours will be in place.
The road will be open over the weekend, according to the alert – except for a portion outside the Celestial Lodge that will be closed from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday for the annual Community Block Party. Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said paving of the portion between Shrewsbury and Bridge avenues will be completed Friday, in time for the event.
Milling and paving of the badly pitted roadway was delayed for months by a dispute with Conrail over repairs a grade crossing, borough officials have said. Conrail has decided not to rebuild the crossing at this time, Sickels said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Republican council candidate Linda Schwabenbauer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
In Tuesday’s election for Red Bank council, incumbents Juanita Lewis and Ed Zipprich, both Democrats, face Republicans Sean Di Somma and Linda Schwabenbauer. Here are Schwabenbauer’s answers to questions sent to all four candidates byredbankgreen.
Name: Linda Schwabenbauer
Where did you grow up? Downingtown, PA
How long have you been a resident of Red Bank? Since May of 2005 – just shy of 10 years
News of the ban came within 24 hours of reports that the health commission warned vendors at the Red Bank Community Block Party on Drs. James Parker Boulevard that they would be shut down if they didn’t comply with agency rules, Mayor Pasquale Menna tells redbankgreen.
In neither case had the borough administration gotten any communication about the actions from the commission, which Menna called “unacceptable behavior.”
The Red Bank Street Fair late summer edition returns Sunday. The Count Basie Theatre, below, is home to a weekend-long food extravaganza called ‘Appetite.’ (Click to enlarge)
Friday, September 6:
MIDDLETOWN: The first and third Friday’s of the month mean Teen Art Club at the Middletown Public Library. This twice-monthly teen-led art session requires few tools: a drawing pad and pencil. Teen Art Club begins at 4 p.m. 55 New Monmouth Road.
RED BANK: The Count Basie 365 Cultural Series presents some cool Friday night jazz to cool down the summer heat in the pocket park at Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard. The concert begins at 7 p.m.
SANDY HOOK: Celebrate the end of summer as the Sandy Hook Foundation presents local caterers, live music and auction items at the End of Summer Party. Proceeds benefit the restoration, maintenance, and education projects of the National Park Service. The farewell to summer runs from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sandy Hook North Beach.
For the second year in a row, former Red Bank residents, newcomers and old-timers gathered for a “family reunion” block party on Drs. James Parker Boulevard Saturday. Photographer Stacie Fanelli was there for redbankgreen.
The spreading economic crisis is leaving tens of millions of Americans facing the prospect of hunger as they contend with diminished earnings or joblessness and worse.
According to one estimate, more than 35 million Americans lived in households that struggled to feed themselves in 2007; the toll this year is expected to be worse. Next year, worse still.
In New Jersey, an estimated 250,000 new clients are expected to seek help this year from food banks. And the need isn’t coming only from the inner cities. Now, even affluent suburbs are being affected.
But even as requests for assistance have risen, donations have been on the decline, leaving food bank shelves almost empty and hungry families waiting for something to eat.
“In all the years I’ve been doing this, there have been times we didn’t have money, but we had food,” says Kathleen DiChiara, founder of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey,” a wholesale distributor of food to more than 1,600 charities throughout the state. Now, she estimates the food banks inventory is down “at least 30 percent,” even as demand is up 25 percent.
So those who feed the hungriest of their neighbors are reaching out with a special appeal for donations of food and cash to help. An information blitz includes the above video, full-page ads featuring longtime food bank supporter Bruce Springsteen, and articles and essays appearing today in 103 hyperlocal news sites (that’s what we call redbankgreen) and blogs across New Jersey.
The message: a crisis of domestic hunger is looming.
“This is not going to go away after the holidays,” says DiChiara. “We need to have food drives that are going to stretch out throughout the year.”