MIDDLETOWN: A THREE-DAY TASTE OF ITALY

raguActor and playwright Frank Ingrasciotta performs his Off Broadway solo show BLOOD TYPE: RAGU at Middletown Arts Center on November 15 as part of a new series of Savor the Arts events.

It’s called Savor the Arts — “a series of culture-specific events that blend performances with culinary tastings, exhibits, workshops, armchair travel presentations and more” — and it’s a multi-sensory whirlwind that begins this weekend, when the Middletown Arts Center (MAC) invites the public to immerse itself in the culture of Italy (and, by extension, the Italian-American experience).

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RED BANK: FACES ON PARADE

hol-72663hol-0087Autumn delivered a gorgeous day and the marchers brought their best scary, funny and pretty faces to Sunday’s annual Red Bank Halloween Parade.

We’ve got close to 100 photos. See anyone you know? You might want to look twice, just to be sure. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: A HALLOWEEN HIKE FOR THE AGES

halloween 2011 10 Listen up, citizens of Gotham: the Red Bank Halloween Parade hits the street this Sunday for its 67th annual edition, filled with witches and goblins of all ages, and some spectacular floats, too. (Photos by John T.Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By TOM CHESEK

halloween 2011 5The year was 1948, and the place was Red Bank, New Jersey — where just a couple of months earlier, “Auld Lang Syne” bandleader Guy Lombardo’s speedboat took the trophy race in the National Sweepstakes Regatta on the Navesink. As the summer heat turned to October chill, thoughts were turning to the looming Dewey-vs.-Truman Presidential election; to a World Series that entered a fortunate few homes for the first time by the miracle of television; and to an altogether different hometown event: the Red Bank Halloween Carnival.

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FAIR HAVEN: HARVESTFEST BRINGS ‘EM IN

092714 knollwood harvest7092714 knollwood harvest12Fair Haven reaped another in an annual series of enjoyable Harvestfests at the Knollwood School Saturday. Orange cotton candy, a petting zoo and a contest for the most artistic pumpkin contest set the mood for the day. We’ve got more photos after the jump… (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: A TWO-FISTED FOOD FESTIVAL

A Guinness in one hand, a lobster or a lobster roll in the other: this vignette repeated itself as redbankgreen roamed the packed midway of the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival under sunny skies Sunday. The crowd in the White Street parking lot kept the oyster shuckers and tap-pullers busy. Were you there? (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

HEY KIDS, BLOCK OUT ROOM FOR DESSERT

faith king 091314Faith King with her dessert a the Madison Avenue block party last Saturday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

morsels mediumIt’s a big block party weekend here on the Green, with close-knit streetfests going on in several locations in Red Bank (Elm Place, South Street) and Fair Haven (Poplar Avenue). Each offers a chance for home cooks to show their neighborliness in the universal currency of food.

Last Saturday, at a rain-soaked block party for residents of Madison Avenue in Red Bank, Faith King reminded attendees that the desire to share isn’t solely an adult impulse.

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RED BANK: STREET FAIR SHINES AGAIN

Sunday was a day of sunglasses, leashes, and bibs in downtown Red Bank for the annual late-summer edition of Street Fair, a fundraiser for the volunteer fire department and the local PBA. Every nook and niche, it seemed, was taken up by hungry fairgoers. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: FINE DINING, FAIR-STYLE

082214-fhfair steamersSteamers and pitchers of beer dominate the tables at the Fair Haven Fireman’s Fair. Below, volunteers Raquel Falotico and Christina Schrank. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

082214 fh fair aux1It’s time for the first seating in the dining tent at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, and the members of the all-volunteer fire department’s Auxiliary are once again organized and ready for the challenge.

It’s 6 p.m., and already there are more people in line for dinner than there are tables and seats. But they patiently wait their turn, some holding plastic cups of beer while chatting with neighbors, many with small children eager to hit the rides. A long line of baby strollers stands parked between the cashier and takeout window.

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FAIR HAVEN: FAIR TRADITION CONTINUES

082214 fhfair33082214 fhfair11The first night of the annual Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, which returned Friday night is about neighbors re-connecting, kids returning from summer camp to discuss the upcoming school year behind the firehouse, babies being introduced to a rite of passage, and borough residents seeing one another once again maybe for the first and only time of the year. Most of the kids will go to bed with a sugar high as they all seemed to be carrying cones of cotton candy bigger than their heads. The beer flowed pretty freely as well….same as last year.

The fair continues nightly until August 30, except for Sunday, when it is idle. And out photo coverage continues just around the “read more” corner. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK & FAIR HAVEN: A GOOD NIGHT OUT

080514rbnightout14080514rbnightout7National Night Out events Tuesday night had their customary fair flair, with free food and facepainting in Red Bank (above and right) and the ever-popular dunk tank in Fair Haven. The 20-year-old NNO outreach effort links law enforcement personnel with the youngest members of  communities to impart about safety and police work in a fun setting. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)               080514fhnightout9

RED BANK: ‘APPETITE’ SATISFIES HUNDREDS

At this weekend’s three-day ‘Appetite‘ extravaganza at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, hundreds of visitors feasted on food, wine, beer and culinary wisdom.

Susan Ericson’s food blog, Flavor Chronicles/Chefs in Motion has additional coverage.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Mouse-over to pause.)

MIDDLETOWN: MONUMENTAL MOVIE MONDAYS

MonumentsJohn Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray ARE The Expen…check that, THE MONUMENTS MEN, as Middletown Township Public Library hosts a month-of-Mondays worth of recent Hollywood releases.

They don’t have the five-dollar bottled waters or nine-dollar popcorns of the mega-mall multiplex. You won’t have the option of paying almost twenty bucks for the privilege of wearing someone else’s greasy, used 3D glasses. Chances are you won’t even be seated near someone doing the play-by-play on their phone. But for everything you’ll miss about the blockbuster movie house experience, you’ll congratulate yourself for waiting to catch those movies you always meant to see — when they come to the climate-controlled screening space at the Middletown Township Public Library.

The weekly series of free matinee Monday Movies continues in August, with a selection of very recent films that’s keynoted by The Monuments Men, the fact-inspired World War Two tale from producer-director-screenwriter-costar George Clooney. Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and John Goodman are featured in the ensemble piece about an elite Army unit charged with recovering and preserving stolen or endangered art treasures during the Nazi occupation, with the film unspooling at 2:30 pm on August 4.

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RED BANK: MORE ON THE MENU AT ‘APPETITE’

080214 appetite8080214 appetite16They came for the wine with local restaurateur Vic Rallo and stayed for the food trucks, beer and make-your-own bloody Mary’s Saturday at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, hosting its second annual ‘Appetite‘ food festival.

The action continues Sunday under the theme of ‘Blues and Brews,’ spotlighting  craft beers, artisanal cheeses, butcher Stew Goldstein – offering a demo on preparing a pork loin Marco roast and more. According to the National Weather Service, it’s not going to be a beach day, so why not come out? More details here.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)    080214 appetite27

RED BANK: BASIE EXCITES THE APPETITE

basie appetite 2013 16Scenes from the 2013 inaugural ‘Appetite’ event, which returns to the patio and stage of the Basie this weekend. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

basie appetite 2013 10Its famous stage has hosted everything from Hollywood royalty and hall of fame rockers to high school revues — but Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre seems to have hit upon a fresh recipe for success, with the new breed of live shows built around celebrity chefs.

Such culinary cable stars as Bobby Flay, Ina Garten, Robert Irvine and “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro have done boffo box office at the Basie. And with the arrival of this weekend’s ‘Appetite: A Gastronomic Experience,’ casual fans and full-fledged foodies can feast on a two-night/two-day excursion that’s highlighted by two superstars of the video-victuals circuit.

A four-course affair running from Friday night through Sunday afternoon, the second annual edition of Appetite also features tie-ins to the good works of some popular hometown favorites.

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RED BANK: THINK GLOBAL, ACT RE-LOCAL

The trailer for ‘In Transition 2.0,’ a documentary screening at Red Bank Public Library Thursday evening.

If you’re the sort of person who’s been looking for a hyper-local way to address some of the truly game-changing issues of the day, the volunteers at Transition Monmouth (aka the Greater Red Bank Transition Mullers) have an illuminating and informative way to spend your Thursday evening.

An independently organized part of a global initiative known as the Transition Network, the Red Bank-based nonprofit is dedicated to the creation of “local, self sufficient, and sustainable communities” — a collection of “re-localized” neighborhoods that respond to the global challenges of climate change, economic hardships and dwindling supplies with attention to renewable energy, locally sourced food supplies, and availability of resources.

Headed by Little Silver resident Sarah Klepner — a community activist who helps program the monthly Social Action Film Series at Lincroft’s Unitarian Meeting House — Transition Monmouth is actively seeking interested neighbors who’d like to learn more about this grass-roots effort, and how it all fits in with the planetary big picture. On July 31, Klepner and company invite all residents of the greater Green to the Red Bank Public Library, for a free screening of the documentary featurette In Transition 2.0.

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RED BANK: COUNTRY FEST IN THE RED

rb country lindner 062814 1 They danced, but they didn’t eat much, at the country music festival last month. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb country lindner 062814 3The music was a hit, but the cash registers rang out a sad song at the Red Bank Rockin’ Country Music Festival last month.

The two-day event in Marine Park drew only 10,000 to 12,000 paying customers, compared to a similar number who typically show up for the single-afternoon International Flavour Festival in the White Street parking lot in April, Red Bank RiverCenter executive director Jim Scavone tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: HOT TATERS AND COOL BERRIES

tower-hill-Liberty-

First Presbyterian Church on Tower Hill is the setting for the annual Liberty Extravaganza on Sunday, capping an evening of strawberries and dixieland on the patio. 

Up at Tower Hill Church — a local landmark whose musically minded ministry and town-topping perch make it seem that much closer to heaven — the celebrated Concert Series isn’t always about oratorios, chamber pieces or modern choral compositions. On Independence Weekend, there’s plenty of room for crowdpleasing corn-on-the-cob from the likes of George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin and more, when the Liberty Extravaganza makes its 26th annual stand in a burst of red, white and blue.

Going up this Sunday, July 6, the event centers around the traditional 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. A salute to the armed forces pays tribute to the men and women who have served the nation in uniform, and the evening concludes with the raising of the very grand flag (pictured above). Doors open 6:45 pm for the free 7:30 pm concert, with general seating available on a first come, first served basis. An offering will be taken to benefit the Tower Hill Concert Series.

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RED BANK: COUNTRY FANS KICK UP DUST

Scenes from the  first-ever Red Bank Rockin’ Country Music Festival, a two-day food-and-tunes event that raised funds for the Red Bank Public Library Foundation, the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department, Red Bank Charter School Library and event host Red Bank RiverCenter. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: A WEEKEND IN THE COUNTRY

Maggie Rose headlines the first-ever Red Bank Rockin’ Country Music Festival, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Marine Park and continues Sunday. Hosted by Red Bank RiverCenter, the event will spotlight the culinary creations of borough restaurants. Profits will benefit the Red Bank Public Library Foundation, the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department, Red Bank Charter School Library, and RiverCenter. Admission is $5 for anyone over 10 years old. Here’s the full entertainment schedule. (Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: NASHVILLE ON THE NAVESINK

Maggie Rose GIBudding star Maggie Rose is the headline attraction for the Rockin’ Country Festival that commandeers Marine Park for two days and evenings of family-friendly activities, foodstuffs and freewheelin’ sounds this Saturday and Sunday. 

The folks at Red Bank Rivercenter haven’t exactly “rued the day” they first joined forces with special-events promoter Ruthanne Harrison, producer-proprietor of Asbury Park-based Really Unbelievable Events. From the annual Guinness Oyster Festival to the International Flavour Fest, the RUE brand has been attached to some of the best-received mashups of local/ regional music and cuisine in the borough’s long history of destination attractions. This Saturday and Sunday, they’ll be doing it all with a pronounced twang, as the first-ever Red Bank Rockin’ Country and Food Festival takes over the waterfront walkways and natural amphitheater of Marine Park.

Running between noon and 9 pm on June 28, and from noon to 7 pm on June 29, the weekender promises the participation of 20 Red Bank restaurants (some featuring special BBQ and country-picnic favorites for the occasion) — along with a sonic smorgasbord that offers up homegrown and national acts ranging from mainstream Nashville to Shore-based “seagrass” and tattooed hipster Americana. Toplining the out-of-town entertainers is Margaret Durante, a/k/a Maggie Rose, a Maryland-born vocalist (and former auxiliary member of regional Boss tributeers The B Street Band) whose star has been on the ascendant through a string of solo recordings that have included “I Ain’t Your Mama,” “Better,” and the Comcast SportsNet football anthem “Get Ya Game On.” She’ll be performing the sweet-spot Saturday night set at 7:15 pm — part of a duelling-stages diptych of live music, for which the deep-fried schedule details are available right here.

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FAIR HAVEN DOES IT AGAIN

What started as a way to celebrate Fair Haven’s centennial two years ago appears to have settled into an annual tradition, as the borough threw a townwide party in Fair Haven Fields Saturday, capping a day of food and music with a spectacular fireworks show. redbankgreen was there, natch. (Photos by Susan Ericson and Dan Natale. Mouseover to pause slideshow.)

ONRUST GRACES OUR BEAUTIFUL NAVESINK

Against a backdrop of mansions and motorboats, a replica of the Onrust (pronounced AHN-roost) spent a glorious weekend sailing the Navesink River, periodically firing its cannons and giving some 450 visitors a sense of 17th-century maritime life.

The 44-foot-long ship’s three-day visit, arranged by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association as a dual celebration of the 350th anniversary of the settlement of Monmouth County and as a fundraiser, included stops in Red Bank and Fair Haven, and ended with its departure for home in Watertown, New York, on Monday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Mouseover to pause.)

RED BANK: ONRUST ARRIVES IN GRAND STYLE

onrust 060614 1 onrust 060614 2The Onrust, a replica of the first deck-covered ship built in colonial America, heads up the Navesink River past the Oceanic Bridge Thursday afternoon. The vessel will spend the weekend in Red Bank and Fair Haven. Here’s the schedule of activities, which includes public tours. will berth for two days at Marine Park. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)