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kaboom-preview-2008The annual KaBoom!  fundraiser culminated in a fireworks preview outside the Monmouth Boat Club in 2008. This year’s edition will be at Hovnanian HQ.

Whether you love it — or leave town for the day because of it — the annual KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink event is one of “the fabulous events that make Red Bank and the Navesink River community the special place that it is,” says KaBoom! Committee chairman Tim Hogan.

As an attraction that draws some 150,000 gawkers and revelers to multiple sites along the riverfront, the July 3 sky-splash is surely the single biggest happening of the borough’s calendar year — one in which all of the more than $200,000 needed to produce KaBoomFest comes from private donations.

While the KaMittee’s underwriting vehicles have ranged from big-league corporate sponsorships to the less sophisticated (but no less effective) “Kick In for KaBoom Bucket,” it’s the annual springtime cocktail party that has traditionally fired the first signal flare in the Countdown to KaBoomsday — and on the evening of Thursday, April 28, the fuse will be lit for an intensive interlude of pyrotechnics, preparations, promotion, and the soliciting of those crucial private donations.

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capello-1Tom Cappello outside his Wallace Street restaurant. Below, a tray of gnocchi destined for local stores. (Click to enlarge)


In the competitive arena of Red Bank restaurants, one owner takes his work down to the molecular level.

Tom Cappello, who launched Gaetano’s on Wallace Street in 2000, has since more than doubled the size of the eatery. He’s introduced Gaetano’s brand sauces and pastas for sale in local food stores, including FoodTown and Sickles Market. He’s turned his trattoria into a classroom, offering cooking lessons for adults and children. He “merchandises the hell out of” his business, doing coupon tie-ins like the one that linked his weekly ladies’ night with the recent appearance by reality TV celeb Bethenny Frankel at the Count Basie Theatre.

And as visitors to his claustrophobia-inducing basement office sometimes come to know, it all stems from lessons Cappello learned working at a fruit stand in Brooklyn.

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Hollywood’s Siobhan Fallon Hogan, TV’s Real Housewife Caroline Manzo and Broadway’s Michael Mulheren appear at local fundraisers in the coming days.

There’s a gala for the neediest of our neighbors that’s studded with familiar faces from movie screens and Broadway stages. A sneak-preview of a film from a major studio, raising funds for the arts right in our backyard. There’s even a benefit dog walk, graced by a reality TV star who’d be able to tell us a thing or three about catfights.

donegoodlogoYou don’t need to boast of any showbiz connections to have Done Good for your community — sometimes all you need to do is come on out, take in some lovely early-autumn weather or enjoy some of the best of local cuisine. Cheer on a committed competitor from the crowd, or pound some pavement for a charitable cause. Donate a used book, buy a used book — or bring back those library books, no questions asked.

In this edition of Done Good, redbankgreen pulls together more than a dozen ways that you can be part of something big in the days and nights to come. It’s an opportunity that begins this weekend and continues on through the first half of October — with benefits that will be felt locally (class trips, school sports, food banks, animal rescues, holiday traditions, clean streets) as well as globally (clean oceans).

The Done Good rundown continues, right around the corner.

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Thirty-five stores downtown will feature live mannequins from 1 to 4p Sunday as part of an effort by Red Bank RiverCenter, the town’s retail promotion organization.

Might be fun to go from store to store and test just how well the models stay in their animatronic characters. See if you can crack them up! You know the kid in you wants to.

The mannequins are all models from Barbizon of Red Bank, whose owner, Mary DeMont, gave us a big assist with the photoshoot we did for this story. Kayla Lovgren of Brick is the model/mannequin, and the storefront is that of Bodega Shoppe, a gift shop on Mechanic Street. Kayla will probably be in the Rok + Lola window Sunday. A reindeer-straddling child is slotted for the Bodega storefront.

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