Lorrie_Head_shot_DFS-217[3]Press release from Holiday Express

Since 1993, Holiday Express has relied on more than 1,500 volunteers and only four full-time paid employees to deliver music, food, gifts, and financial support to those with the greatest need for the gift of human kindness during the Holiday season and throughout the year. To help make it all possible, the non-profit organization has announced the hiring of Lorrie Klaric as the new Executive Director.

Klaric, who starts immediately, will be replacing Donald Pignataro who announced his retirement in the fall and has served successfully as the organization’s Executive Director since 2006.  Pignataro will remain as the Executive Director until the end of the year to allow for a smooth transition of leadership.

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112814 holexp17Tim McCloone and Holiday Express rocked in the holiday season Friday night with an appreciative but cold throng of revelers.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


112814 hotchocolateThey all showed up in Red Bank Friday night to ring in the holiday season: Frosty, the Grinch, Santa and the Mrs., and especially the ringleader, Tim McCloone.

Starting the well-attended street party off with favorites “All Alone on Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman,” Holiday Express got the masses singing and moving to the beat for the annual night-after-Thanksgiving town light-up. Red Bank’s volunteer fire department handed out cups of hot chocolate to help defrost frozen fingers while festive lights were turned on to brighten the streets and sidewalks.

Were you one of the bundled up in the crowd? Click below to see who else showed up for the party.

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112814 santa6Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived at the Red Bank train station from Little Silver to a crowd of excited children and adults. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


112814 santaMore than 100 children and adults waited for Santa and Mrs. Claus to make their way to the Red Bank train station from Little Silver Friday night.

Dozens more disembarked from the annual Santa Express, sponsored by the Galleria of Red Bank, to entertainment by the Kathryn Barnett School of Dance and the Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch. Many then made their way east along Monmouth Street in a parade to the Holiday Express Concert and town light-up.

Were you among them? Look below to see if you made this years photo album. And if you missed Santa, click here for more opportunities to see Jolly Old St. Nick.

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Tim and tree lighting with Karen CTim McLoone keynotes the season of lights in downtown Red Bank with the traditional Holiday Express outdoor concert on Black Friday.

tim-grinch-band-rblightingCharlie Brown, Ralphie, Rudolph – not a one ever concerned himself with the concept of “Black Friday” in their day. And when Red Bank celebrates its annual Holiday Express concert and Town Lighting this Friday night, it will do so with a curious new mission: to take back the purity, and the sanctity, of Black Friday.

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rb rain 112614 1Broad Street in Red Bank, looking north from the Post Office through a rain-blurred windshield Wednesday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Amid talk of a northeaster – or, as the Pepperidge Farm voiceover guy might say, a ‘nor-eastuh’ – dumping snow on much of New Jersey, here’s the weather outlook for the greater Red  Bank Green for the next few days…

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front_cover_2015_dorn's_calendarFrom press materials furnished by Prown’s and Dorn’s Classic Images

It’s that time of year again — that time when thoughts start creeping toward next year, and another 12 months’ worth of little numbered boxes to fill with appointments, commitments, resolutions and reminders.

As has become a recently minted tradition, two of the most time-honored names in the Red Bank community have announced the 2015 editions of their sought-after custom calendars — daily datekeepers that are designed to kindle warm-‘n-fuzzy feelings for anyone with a nostalgic spot for the towns of the greater Red Bank green; even as they help some of the area’s hardworking nonprofits fulfill their mission in the here and now.

Available online and in-store now at Prown’s Home Improvements, the sixth annual Prown’s Olde Tyme Red Bank Area Calendar collects 14 priceless images of local life — this year organized around the theme “Remembering Places of Entertainment.” As David Prown — third-generation steward of the family business that will mark its 90th anniversary next year — put it, “memories will come flooding back” to all who gaze upon the images of good times across the decades. The calendars, which tend to sell out each year, are priced at $12, with proceeds dedicated to the “Number One non-profit entertainmen charity organization,” Holiday Express.

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The year-end holiday season — and the Town Lighting concert by Holiday Express that officially flips the switch to CHEER mode — are a long ways off at the moment, but for those who depend upon the good works and good vibes that the Holiday Express organization brings each year, there’s no time like the present to raise awareness and funds for the team’s round-the-calendar operations.

On the evening of Friday, June 13, Michaela and Jamie Wark open their private residence in Rumson to a casual-attire fundraiser event, for which reservations are required by June 6.

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It was a night of jolly good cheer as Santa and Mrs. Claus and thousands of revelers in fun hats thronged downtown Red Bank for the annual town light-up and Holiday Express concert Friday night. The event began with the return of the traditional Santa Express train ride into town from Little Silver after a one-year interruption due to Hurricane Sandy. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)


jukeJointJonny2Above: Juke Joint Jonny brings the real-deal folk blues to a season-ending Steamy Night at the Woman’s Club…while below, the real live author Dave Cicirelli brings his FAKEBOOK saga home to the M’town Library.  (click to enlarge)

Friday, November 29:

RED BANK: Black Friday is many things to many folks — but here in the area’s capital of Christmas and holiday hootenannies, it’s all about the Friday Night Lights, as the wondrous Wall of Sound that is Holiday Express flips the switch on a new season of events, activities and jinglebell commerce in downtown Red Bank. The annual free outdoor concert commences at 7 pm at Broad and Canal streets; take it here for our feature story with the details on tonight’s festivities (including the return run of the Santa Express train).DaveCicirelli-500x323

RED BANK: If the Town Lighting crowds aren’t your scene, habitual stay-at-homes can be both housebound and social — during the final installment of 2013 for Reckless Steamy Nights, the monthly series of intimate house party concerts presented by the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation inside the Woman’s Club of Red Bank (a.k.a. the old Anthony Reckless estate, Broad Street between Reckless and Leroy Place). Tonight between the hours of 8:30 and 11 pm, the JSJBF sends you out into the bracing chill of the holiday season, with warm fuzzy feelings kindled by Juke Joint Jonny, the Newark-native specialist in acoustic folk blues whose whiskey-stinging/ whiskey-smooth style can make an inviting roadhouse out of the most stately old manor. It’s a special “Dennis’ 60th Birthday Party,” and it’s BYOB, with a $10 donation requested at the door (proceeds benefit the JSJBF scholarship programs); call (732)933-1984 for more info.

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crowd 112709The Christmas-capital crossroads of Broad and Canal streets is the place to be on Friday night, when Holiday Express presides over the annual concert and town lighting ceremony. (File photos. Click to enlarge)


stage 2 112709As Tim McLoone tells it, he’s “just the keyboard player” in Holiday Express, the winter-wonderland Wall of Sound and Brilliant Light that he founded and has fronted since 1993. But if the big band is merely the part of the all-volunteer humanitarian train that “makes the most noise,” then there’s more to the Express seasonal journey than meets the eye or ear.

The 21st season of performances by Holiday Express — a schedule that takes two regional touring and support units to 60-plus stops in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — actually got underway more than two weeks ago. By December 24, the Express team will have logged some 10,000 miles visiting, playing for and distributing gifts to more than 15,000 people in area homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, children’s wards and other places well off the beaten path — places whose residents are often without any family or friends.

For most of us, however, the keynote to the holiday season on the greater Red Bank Green happens on the evening of Black Friday, when the Express makes a rare public-invited pitstop to the downtown nexus of Broad and Canal streets. It’s there, on November 29, that McLoone and company will be flipping the switch on a wintry interlude of special activities and events in the borough — a Town Lighting made all the more special, with the welcome return of some much-missed local traditions.

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bobandtimHoliday Express founder-frontman Tim McLoone shares the stage with Bob Sickles of Sickles Market, during a previous fundraiser for the music-powered humanitarian juggernaut. This year’s benefit at the Little Silver landmark netted over $100,000 for the cause.

Press release from Sickles Market

Sickles Market’s sold-out Wine and Cheese fundraising event for Holiday Express held on Friday, November 1, 2013 raised $105,000 for Holiday Express.

Over 250 denim-clad guests attended the popular event in Sickles Greenhouse, which was decked out with holiday decorations and twinkling lights. The event provides critical funds to help jumpstart Holiday Express’ 2013 season with over 60 scheduled performances. The live auction alone raised $50,000.

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At the keyboards, on the radio, coaching runners or in the back room of one of his nine restaurants, Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone is a marvel of achievement.  (Photo by Suzy Graham. Click to enlarge)


Tim McLoone is a man with a dozen hands, all tackling a dozen sizable tasks at once.

He owns McLoone’s Running Store, his first business, at the Grove in Shrewsbury. He owns nine restaurants, including the Rum Runner in Sea Bright and the recently acquired former CJ Montana in Tinton Falls, rebranded as CJ McLoone’s. He’s a sports announcer for the collegiate basketball games at Newark’s Prudential Center. He just launched his own radio show on December 1. He coaches the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls’ cross-country team.  And at the heart of it all is his philanthropic brain child, an idea that blossomed from a one-time gig into a full-scale traveling circus: Holiday Express.

The non-profit organization is its own Christmas miracle: a massive effort on behalf of roughly 300 adult volunteers, 700 child and teenage volunteers, 100 musicians, and one man who brought together their desires to bring smiles to those in need of a little comfort and joy.

Tonight, Holiday Express makes its much-anticipated annual station stop at the grand Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.

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Locally connected guys Brian Williams and Jon Stewart — pictured during one of the NBC news anchor’s frequent appearances on THE DAILY SHOW — team up on December 16 for a Hurricane Sandy Relief fundraiser at the Count Basie, with tickets going on sale at noon today.


Ask anyone who’s ever wound up in line with him at Welsh Farms or Super Foodtown. Scroll through those tweets and Facebook posts from your sister-in-law who was seated at the very next table from him at Blue Water Seafood. Remind yourself that of all the refuges in this great land, the most recognized political satirist of our time chose to make his double-wide domicile on the Red Bank side of the Navesink (a scoop first reported right here on redbankgreen). No two ways about it — Jon Stewart is a Local Guy.

Then consider the case of the internationally renowned newsman, whose first job in media was delivery boy for the old Courier weekly in Middletown. A major figure on the national scene, whose interviews are frequently peppered with references to Brookdale Community College, or the former Perkins Pancake House on Route 35. From his days at Mater Dei High School to his time as a volunteer firefighter, Brian Williams remains at heart a Local Guy.

Although the host of The Daily Show and the anchor of NBC Nightly News have sometimes blurred the discussion of “which one’s the journalist, and which one’s the jokester,” the two titans of television have forged a fast friendship over the years — guesting on each other’s shows (with Williams tallying more than 20 shots on Stewart’s cablecast), and joining forces for the occasional tandem appearance. That is, when they’re not variously hosting the Oscars, reporting from war zones, interviewing heads of state, or drawing over 200,000 people to a rally at the National Mall.

On Sunday, December 16, the two locals team up once again for a one-time, one-of-a-kind live appearance — this time on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre, where they’re scheduled to sit down with moderator (and New York Times media reporter) Bill Carter in a free-form event from which all proceeds go to benefit Monmouth and Ocean Counties for Hurricane Sandy Relief, and for which tickets go on sale at noon today, December 5.

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It was a festive night of high spirits, bright lights and rides on big shoulders as Red Bank welcomed in the Christmas holiday season Friday night. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)


The turkey’s done, the present shopping has begun, and now the holiday season is officially in full swing in Red Bank. The annual Black Friday Santa Claus sighting, parade to Broad Street, downtown light-up and Holiday Express concert hit the town Friday night to the delight of thousands of area residents.

It was a night jam-packed with events. First, dancers from the Kathryn Barnett School of Dance showed off their fancy footwork to the tunes of holiday classics. Then, the Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch treated the gatherers to the sounds of bagpipes.

Next, it was time for what all the little ones were waiting for: the white-bearded man with the overstuffed bag.

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Thousands of celebrants are expected to pack Broad Street in Red Bank for the Holiday Express concert and tree lighting Friday night. (Click to enlarge)


Just as your post-Thanksgiving torpor has begun to set in, the brand-new holiday season gets a spirited start in Red Bank with a celebration of sight and sound Friday night.

It’s time for the 19th annual Holiday Express concert and tree lighting, which includes a Santa parade, dancing and a display of lights – all on tap starting at 5:30 p.m.

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The Red Bank Holiday Art Walk takes to the streets once more on November 24. Norman Rockwell protege Peter Caras, right, joins some formidable colleagues this Saturday at Middletown Arts Center.

When Hurricane Sandy threw the entire Jersey Shore into a Dark Ages interlude of blackouts, curfews, detours, closings and major transportation issues, nearly every scheduled event this side of Thanksgiving was forced to take a step back.

But according to gallery curator Robert Langdon, rumors of the postponement of this month’s Red Bank Art Walk have been greatly exaggerated. In fact the November 24 re-appearance of the pavement-pounding promenade represents a resource that can help the borough “recapture its vibrance, especially after the recent devastation Monmouth County suffered from Hurricane Sandy,” he said in an email to redbankgreen.

Taking place on from 5 to 9 pm onNational Small Business Day, the holiday edition of the recently revived art walk brings together some 20 borough-based galleries, upscale retailers, restaurants and places of worship for a four hour, self-guided walking tour organized under the theme “A Gift of Art is a Gift of the Heart.” Langdon’s Gallery U (where the group show Cornucopia opens with a 6 to 9 pm reception on Friday, November 23) joins with such traditional (and non-traditional) artspaces as the Art Alliance of Monmouth County, Beacon Fine Arts Gallery, Frame to Please, Studio 25, Gallery 135 at the Red Bank Community Church (the second-story “storefront” house of worship in the Prown’s building on Monmouth Street), Jamian’s Food and Drink, as well as Garmany, Amy Manor Interior Design and several other art-friendly venues. Street maps (featuring the participating Art Walk locations plus recommended places to dine) will be made available to those who stroll and/or roll — and there’s even a trolley shuttle service running between the various locations.

The virtual art walk continues in and around the greater Red Bank Green this weekend, with a special event in Middletown (rescheduled from the bleak beginning days of November), as well as ongoing exhibits in Shrewsbury, Lincroft, Little Silver and downtown Red Bank…

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It’s a full-on sight-and-sound spectacular: the annual night-after-Thanksgiving Santa Claus train ride into Red Bank followed by the parade to Broad Street, the downtown light-up and the Holiday Express concert.

For the 18th consecutive year, it was all once again best experienced perched on dad’s shoulders while wearing a funny hat.

redbankgreen photographer Peter Lindner was there. Were you?


holiday-express-2010-2Scenes from the 2010 Holiday Express concert. (Click to enlarge)

holiday-express-2010-1The newborn 2011 holiday season moves outdoors with a bang of a snare drum and a blast of white light on Broad Street in Red Bank Friday night.

That’s right, it’s time for the 18th annual Holiday Express concert, complete with a bustling Santa parade, a sudden toss of sparkle into the roadside trees and familiar, feel-good seasonal tunes by Tim McLoone and his stage-sprawling band of musicmakers.

And it all kicks off a season of Gingerbread Walks, Horse & Carriage Rides, Holiday Harmonies on the streets and more, including a new, movable feast sponsored by the town’s restaurants called Holiday Flavour.

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With another spirited (and sold-out) gathering in the greenhouse, Sickles Market in Little Silver hosted its annual wine and cheese fundraiser for Holiday Express Friday night.

The event featured auctions of wines and wine-cellar tours, plus a performance by Holiday Express, Tim McLoone’s nonprofit good-cheer band of merrymakers.

As is its custom, Holiday Express will kick of the holiday season Red Bank style with an outdoor concert and town lighting on Friday, November 25 and will make its annual stop at the Count Basie Theatre on December 15.


mcloonesmallTim McLoone (right), whose Holiday Express big band brings wall-of-sound cheer to those most in need of it this time of year, is about to get some network love.

Brian Williams, the Middletown and former volunteer fireman who now anchors NBC Nightly News, is scheduled to air a segment on McLoone’s charitably-oriented musical endeavors on the program Friday night, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

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xmasconcertsSanta Basie: Returning to the stage for Christmas are (clockwise from top left) Tim McLoone and Holiday Express; Nancy Scharff; Glen Burtnik, and Mark Shapiro with the Monmouth Civic Chorus.

It’s official: with a ceremonial flip of the switch last Friday night — and a weathery weekend of holiday-themed activities immediately following — Red Bank once again took the local lead in calling another Season of Lights to luminous life.

With December bringing up the calendar caboose, the borough merely picks up steam, offering up a full complement of Christmas and Chanukah events and activities from now right on up to the doorstep of New Year’s Eve.

Continuing every Saturday through December 18 are the outdoor jinglebell jukebox known as Holiday Harmonies and the clip-clop-and-shop of the Red Bank Horse and Carriage Rides. The Galleria offers Pictures with Santa photo ops each weekend through December 19, and the annual Gingerbread Walk promotion continues at participating borough businesses through December 26.

You can find out more about these ongoing offerings from Red Bank RiverCenter — and continue reading to unwrap our roundup package of holiday concerts, lighting ceremonies, fundraisers, stage shows and other events, in and around the greater Red Bank green.

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As in years past, Tim McLoone’s rolling, feel-good music extravaganza, Holiday Express, kicked off the Christmas season in Red Bank Friday night with a concert for several thousand visitors who braved a post-Thanksgiving chill.

redbankgreen was all over Broad Street to capture it in pixels, as per usual. Here’s a hundred angles on the merriment.

(To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.)


img_5665112709As usual, several thousand people are expected to pack Red Bank’s Broad Street for a Holiday Express concert and overall merriment Friday night. These pix are from 2009. (Click to enlarge)


Even hardcore humbugs and web-shopping wetblankets can agree that there’s no better time for a bit of light therapy than Black Friday.

This Friday evening, for the 17th consecutive year, Holiday Express — the all-volunteer force of musical goodwill — pulls into station stop Red Bank to perform a free outdoor concert that sounds the keynote to the annual Town Lighting ceremony.

If you’ve spent at least a year of your life in the area, you’ll know the event as the “real” kickoff to the holidays — not just in Red Bank but all around the greater ‘green. And it’s just the tip of the icicle for a sleighload slate of activities that begins in earnest this weekend.

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holiday-express-1A packed-greenhouse crowd at Sickles Market raised $72,500 last Friday night for Holiday Express, the rolling musical extravaganza that brings good cheer this time of year to 50 or so audiences. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

Done2A great American (Patrick Henry? Paul Bunyan? Leo Gorcey?) once observed, “They also Done Good, who stand and wait.” And as most of us wait here in the all-clear zone between the chaos of Halloweelection Day and the holiday hyperdrive heralded by Black Friday, we remind you that November continues to offer more than a few ways in which to Do Good.

It could be as easy as contributing a couple of bucks or some nonperishable items to any of the many food banks that operate year-round on the greater Red Bank green. A donation to an area toy drive. Or a helping hand for your neighborhood school, church and youth organization to help others, simply by attending (and having a blast at) one of the fun events scheduled for the days and weeks to come.

We’ve got a few recommendations right around the corner, so pass the candied yams and dig on in.

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tree-litYes, folks, it’s that time of year. The book is closed on Halloween. Jim Bruno’s crew from Powerhouse Signworks has started stringing lights in trees downtown. And the event planners at Red Bank RiverCenter are sniffing around for a tree.

No, not one of Bruno’s trees. This one needs to be 20- to 25-feet tall, evergreen, full-bodied and ready to give its life for the joy of the multitudes expected to jam Monmouth and Broad Streets on Friday, November 26.

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