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RED BANK: MUSICAL FIREWORKS FOR THE 4TH

Conductor Sameer Patel, below, leads the New Jersey Symphony in an open-air display of musical Americana overlooking the Navesink River from Marine Park Sunday night. (Click to enlarge.)

It’s been five years now since Red Bank heralded the Independence Day holiday with a bang and a kaboom with the cancellation of its long fireworks-on-the-Navesink tradition. But as relatively quiet as things have been of late during the Fourth of July interlude, there’s celebratory music in the air.

This Sunday, two events — one of them a community happening of long standing, the other representing something new down by the riverside — bring the sound and the classic American spirit to the Greater Green.

That something new is a “Sunday in the Park” free performance by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in Marine Park. Before that, the borough’s landmark Tower Hill Church celebrates flag and country with the 29th edition of the annual Liberty Extrvaganza.

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RED BANK: DO YOU MISS THE FIREWORKS?

In 2010, KaBoom became three-day event, increasings costs that were not matched by donations from viewers and sponsors. But it sure was fun. Here’s a replay of that year’s spectacle.

HOT-TOPIC_01It’s kind of a red-meat question, one that seems to come up at every backyard barbecue on the Greater Green this time of year: Is Red Bank better off without its longtime fireworks show?

By tradition, the borough’s Independence Day fireworks were held on July 3. The show, branded KaBoom in its last years, was billed as the fourth-largest Independence Day fireworks celebration in America in terms of the number and size of shells lofted into the sky above the Navesink River.

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FAIR HAVEN: CAPPING A SPARKLING DAY

061315fhday59061315fhday33Hundreds of Fair Havenites spent the afternoon and evening in the open air of Fair Haven Fields Saturday, enjoying the fourth annual Fair Haven Day, an event begun in 2012 to commemorate the borough centennial.

Kids limboed, danced to the Jukebox Criminals and built ice cream sundaes; adults enjoyed a range of culinary offerings, as well as beer and sangria; and the whole thing was capped once again with a spectacular fireworks show.

redbankgreen was there, camera in hand, to capture the vibe for those who missed it, or just want to relive it. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge.)

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NAVESINK: RIVERVIEW DELIVERS AN EYEFUL

The vantage points were harder to find, but a  fireworks show on the Navesink River off a Middletown dock Friday night was no less spectacular than the old KaBoom displays in Red Bank, a half-century tradition that ended in 2011.

Now in its second year, the Family Fireworks Show, featuring some 1,500 shells launched from a barge, capped a fundraising party for Riverview Medical Center at the Navesink River Road home of Rose DiPiero.

“The main thing is that we’ve got fireworks back on the Navesink, and it’s good for the community and for a good cause,” said Dominick DiPiero III, one of the event’s hosts. (Photos by John T. Ward and Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

NAVESINK RIVER FIREWORKS SLATED

fireworks 062614Boaters, motorists on the Oceanic Bridge, patrons of two Rumson restaurants and miscellaneous others are in for a pyrotechnics treat Friday night, when DiPiero family puts on a fireworks show from his home on the Middletown side of the Navesink River. The show, scheduled for 9;15 p.m., caps off a fundraising party for Riverview Medical Center Foundation. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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.)

FAIR HAVEN: NEIGHBOR WANTS SHOW SNUFFED

fh day 4 061612They sure looked pretty, but last year’s fireworks showered Mary Ylangan’s yard and others with debris, some of which she brought to a council meeting last week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh fireworks 050714 1Mary Ylangan knows she’s on a quest that, at first blush, may sound a bit like she’s against motherhood and apple pie.

She wants Fair Haven to scrap its annual fireworks show.

But having had her home enveloped in smoke and showered with hot fireworks debris, Ylangan – a mom – is lobbying the town to replace the show with something more environmentally friendly.

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M’TOWN: MAN CHARGED WITH DWI, LEWDNESS

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• Michael Murphy, age 33, from Brainard Avenue in Port Monmouth, NJ, arrested on June 27, 2013 by Patrolman James Beirne on a Non-Support warrant issued by the Monmouth County Superior Court. He was help pending a court date.

• Stephen Smith, age 45, from Chapel Hill Road in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, arrested on June 26, 2013 by Patrolman Ryan Riffert on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Old Bridge Municipal Court. He was released after posting $500.00 bail.

• Danny Skinner, 3rd, age 20, from New Street in Toms River, NJ, arrested on June 27, 2013 by Patrolman Thomas Russo on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $1,000.00 bail.

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SEA BRIGHT: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Two charities – Sea Bright Rising and Ama Ristorante’s Building Permit Relief Fund – with the common mission of helping Sea Bright victims of Hurricane Sandy rebuild their homes and businesses were the beneficiaries of festivities at Driftwood Cabana Club Monday that culminated in a spectacular fireworks show.

Daylong downpours halted, a rainbow appeared, and a pyrotechnics show billed as New Jersey’s largest this Independence Day week lit up the sky above the Atlantic Ocean and Sea Bright as thousands looked on. redbankgreen was at Driftwood to capture the spectacle. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click the embiggen symbolto enlarge)

 

FAIR HAVEN DOES IT AGAIN

They liked it so much in their town’s centennial year that they decided to do it again. The residents of Fair Haven threw themselves a townwide picnic Saturday, a day of food, music and community under the sun that ended with a smashing fireworks show. redbankgreen was there, natch. Recognize any faces?

SEA BRIGHT: A GIFT OF FIREWORKS

After a one-year absence, Independence Day pyrotechnics are expected to soar over the Sea Bright beach. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

This summer, Sea Brighters and visitors to the coastal town will once again be able to ring in Independence Day with a boom, thanks in part to the generous help of a Mercer County town.

The borough’s annual fireworks display is to be partly funded by the town of Robbinsville, which has “adopted” the storm-wracked borough and recently donated a used police car to the borough.

Originally to be funded solely by the Businesses of Sea Bright – formerly the Sea Bright Business Alliance –  the show is slated for Saturday, July 6.

Robbinsville is “offering to cover the lion’s share of the cost,” Mayor Dina Long announced at Tuesday night’s borough council meeting.

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CANCELED FIREWORKS: DO YOU CARE?

Crowds would pack West Front Street opposite Riverside Gardens Park every July 3 for a view of the annual pyrotechnics display. (Click to enlarge)

By CONNOR SOLTAS

Tonight would have been the night.

The annual Red Bank fireworks show, a half-century-old tradition branded as Kaboom for most of the past decade, would have been lofted into the sky above the Navesink River tonight, as always on July 3.

But the event was canceled in February amid fundraising difficulties and security concerns.

redbankgreen took to the streets in recent days to see how locals feel about the change. A sampling of opinion is below.

What do you think about the fizzling of Kaboom? Let us know in a comment.


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HISTORY DAY: CENTENNIAL AND ANTIQUES

The crew from Paul Davis Partywares in Shrewsbury setting up the tent and tables at Fair Haven Fields Thursday for Saturday’s celebration of the town’s centennial. Below, Riverbank Antiques in Red Bank, which will host an open house. (Click to enlarge)

After the George Sheehan Classic in Red Bank Saturday morning, there’s plenty for locals and visitors to do hereabouts on the Green. And the weatherbot says Mother Nature will cooperate, providing ample sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s.

Here are two diversions, one indoors, and one out, both steeped in the richness of the past: Fair Haven’s Centennial, and a celebration of the reconstituted Red Bank Antiques district.

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RUMSON ALSO LIKELY TO SCRUB FIREWORKS

Scenes from the 2011 Rumson fireworks show, which was synched up with the Red Bank display upriver. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

As go Red Bank’s Independence Day fireworks, so go Rumson’s.

For five years, the two towns put on simultaneous, mirror-image fireworks displays just miles apart on the Navesink River.

But the decision announced Wednesday by the KaBoom Fireworks organizing committee to shelve the Red Bank show in all likelihood means there also will be no fireworks anchored around the Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown this year, Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl tells redbankgreen.

“We’re probably not going to be able to go ahead,” he said.

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RED BANK FIREWORKS CANCELLED; SECURITY COSTS, INADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING CITED

Scenes from the 2011 fireworks show, when police presence was ramped up following widespread brawling and drunkeness in 2010. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s largest public event, the annual KaBoom Fireworks show, is off for 2012 and facing steep barriers to a return, organizers said Wednesday morning.

The nonprofit show’s executive committee, after several months of mulling, concluded about a week ago that the costs and challenges of staging the event, which draws an estimated 100,000 visitors to the borough each July 3, could not be met this year, chairman Tim Hogan told redbankgreen.

“It was a victim of its own success,” Hogan said, with increasingly bigger crowds  drawn to what was billed as the fourth-largest Independence Day fireworks celebration in America in terms of the number and size of shells lofted into the sky above the Navesink River.

“It was a big event,” he said. “It was a challenge to control the crowd and make sure we were providing security to the folks who came.”

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SKIES CLEAR AND LIGHT UP OVER THE RIVER

Thunderstorms and rain made the Kaboom Fireworks on the Navesink an iffy proposition all day Sunday. But by sunset, the skies had cleared for another terrific pyrotechnics display over our beautiful river.

Pix were taken Saturday and Sunday in Red Bank. To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit the escape key.

And be sure to check out all our photo albums at Flickr.

RUMSON, IN A FLASH AND RUMBLE

Shots of Rumson’s 2011 edition of the Independence Day Fireworks, as seen from Victory Park, the Oceanic Bridge and surrounding areas.

As is the custom, the show, by Garden State Fireworks, was synched up with, and identical to (except in the size of the shells) the show upriver, between Red Bank and Middletown.

Photos by Dustin Racioppi. To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit the escape key.

And be sure to check out all our photo albums at Flickr.

MIDDLETOWN SEEKS KABOOM COMPENSATION

cooper-bridgeA view of the Navesink River from Cooper’s Bridge, where Middletown officials are concerned more people will gather this year to see the fireworks. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While the sky lights up and music blasts across the Navesink River Sunday, and Red Bank’s north end is bursting with crowds and pre- and post-show traffic, Middletown, too, will have its share of it all.

But unlike Red Bank, the neighboring township is footing the bill for the police overtime the event necessitates.

Not fair, say Middletown’s leaders, who share concerns that, with a new fee this year to watch the Kaboom fireworks show at Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank, more people are apt to catch the view from the north side of the river, making more work for its police force.

“It’s gotten worse every year,” said Middletown Committeeman Gerry Scharfenberger, who called Middletown the fireworks’ “incidental victims.” “It’s not an event that we sanction, but we’re left having to deal with the police and crowd control.”

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FIREWORKS PREVIEW: SEA BRIGHT

sb-fireworks-signOcean Avenue in Sea Bright becomes a virtual parking lot during the town’s fireworks show. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Not to be forgotten amid the July 3 KaBoom blitzkrieg at two Navesink River locations is an annual tradition just across the Shrewsbury River in Sea Bright, which will hold its Fourth of July fireworks on the actual Fourth of July.

But like Red Bank, the small seaside town faces a big task in getting large numbers of people in for the show.

“Our biggest issue here is parking,” Police Chief John Sorrentino said.

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KABOOM CLOSING IN ON FUNDRAISING GOAL

kaboom-firecrackerFirecracker says the Kaboom Committee is half-way to its $275,000 funding goal. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In a big change from this time a year ago, the KaBoom Committee is brimming with confidence as it readies the giant July 3 fireworks extravaganza in Red Bank.

Despite a still-sagging economy, sponsorships for this year’s three-day celebration have skyrocketed, and fundraising efforts have put the committee back in the black far earlier than last year, chairman Charles Moran has said.

With two days to go until the festival kicks off, the committee is making a final push to bring in more dollars to cover the $275,000 price tag — up from the normal $250,000 because of additional police presence — for the largest fireworks show in New Jersey, and one of the largest in the U.S.

“The committee is confident the fundraising goal will be met,” member Judy Musa said in an email.

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COPS ADDED FOR KABOOM ‘ZERO TOLERANCE’

kaboom-njt3-070310Hundreds of visitors packed a waiting area at the Red Bank station for a northbound train after the 2010 fireworks. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

mccarthy-chief-steve-2

Following increases in disorderly behavior and outright violence at the Kaboom Fireworks in recent years, Red Bank police plan to boost enforcement, while elected officials are calling for maximum penalties for miscreants.

Police Chief Steve McCarthy, right, tells redbankgreen that a bolstered police presence will be on hand for this year’s July 3 festivities, with officers checking coolers for contraband alcohol as thousands of celebrants enter the borough’s riverside parks.

Cops will also crack down on open containers and be on the lookout for booze disguised as soft drinks, he said.

The entire 39-member force will work that day, and a larger number of cops from surrounding towns will the supplement the security presence than were on the scene last year.

“We have a considerable amount of police officers coming in to help us out,” McCarthty said.

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BOOM TOWN BASH IS A BIG-TENT TICKET

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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KABOOMERS PROMISE FRESH START

A promotional video for the KaBOOM fireworks show. Below, Tim Hogan, new chairman of KaBoom’s executive committee. (Click to enlarge photo)

hogan-2Coming off two years of financial challenges and crowd-control issues, the 2011 edition of the giant annual fireworks extravaganza known as KaBoomFest will feature a renewed focus on family entertainment and security, organizers say.

While some aspects of the event, including whether to repeat last year’s expansion from one to three days, remain undecided, KaBoom is on track to raise more money from corporate sponsors this year and is paying more attention to the importance of security, said Tim Hogan, president of Riverview Medical Center and chairman of KaBoom’s executive committee.

“We want to make sure that it’s safe and want to make sure that it’s family-friendly,” Hogan said.

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KABOOM: AUTHORITIES REVIEW SECURITY

kaboom-njt3-070310Hundreds of visitors packed a waiting area at the Red Bank station for a northbound train after the fireworks, and transit personnel directed them into double-decker railcars, below. (Click to enlarge)

kaboom-njt-070310

Though numerous fights and other incidents broke out downtown, authorities assessing last Saturday’s KaBoomfest say things went particularly smoothly at the Red Bank train station, thanks to the addition of trains and security personnel.

That’s in contrast to a year ago, when the station was the site of a crowd surge, long waits and numerous arrests for disorderly behavior.

And considering the number of people in town, estimated at more than 120,000, the violence that broke out elsewhere was quelled rapidly without any injuries to bystanders or police, according to Red Bank Police Captain Darren McConnell.

“There were many incidents, but they were isolated, and they were put down pretty quickly” by cops or civilians, he said.

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