NAVESINK RIVER: ARTIEPALOOZA RETURNS

Pix from the 2013 edition of Artiepalooza, which attracted some 85 vessels at its peak, organizers say. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Among the incomparable delights of life on our beautiful Navesink River is the floating annual bash now known as Artiepalooza.

Centered in Blossom Cove on the Middletown side of the river, roughly opposite Riverview Medical Center, the daylong, boat-based event returns on Saturday bigger than ever, with six musical acts performing on a “raft” of three vessels tied together, as well as this: a pontoon selling Chilangos Restaurant fish tacos that partygoers can preorder by text message.

And it’s all for a good cause.

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ARTIEPALOOZA ROCKS THE RIVER

Partygoers gathered on dozens of vessels to remember a friend at Saturday’s floating bash on the Navesink dubbed ‘Artiepalooza.’ (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By NICK MALFITANO

One could hear the unmistakable sound up and down the Navesink River Saturday afternoon; American rock n’ roll. Sun peeked through the clouds as dozens of partygoers gathered in Blossom Cove on the river’s Middletown side to enjoy food, drink and live music at a floating party.

It could only be Artiepalooza.

The boat bash served as both a fundraiser – for David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation, an organization that provides financial assistance to those affected by cancer – and a tribute to the memory of 51-year-old Arthur “Artie” Natsis of Middletown. The event, known as “Baaaquapalooza” during its first two incarnations last summer, was renamed in Natsis’ honor after he died from cancer in April.

“Everyone’s having a great time,” said Natsis’ widow, Feli Donato-Natsis, whose first name is pronounced ‘Filly.’ “I counted about 35 boats here. Some knew about the party, and others came from word of mouth. All our friends rented the only two pontoon boats in the area to be here.”

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ON THE RIVER: AN ARTIE PARTY FOR A CAUSE

Baaaquapalooza returns to the Navesink River this weekend, tinged with sadness over the death of co-founder Artie Natsis. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By NICK MALFITANO

On two occasions last summer, Baaaquapalooza was the hottest ticket on the Navesink River.

A floating, fun-loving rock ‘n roll extravaganza that drew dozen of boats, the third incarnation was set to continue the bobbing bash in style on August 10. But that was prior to the April passing of 51-year-old Baaaquapalooza co-founder and Middletown resident Arthur Natsis after a seven-year fight against cancer.

Now, the rollicking river bash has a new, added meaning: a tribute to Natsis’s memory.

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