RED BANK: HOLIDAY SHOWS ROCK THE BASIE

darlene-loveRock and Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love, above, and not-so-secret Santa Brian Kirk, below, return to the Count Basie stage for their respective holiday shows this Friday and Saturday.

brian-kirkA holiday tradition bit the fake-snow dust in 2014, when a retiring David Letterman hosted musical guest Darlene Love in her umpteenth and final annual performance of the soaring “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

But Red Bank audiences can vouch that Ms. Love and her Christmas-pop signature are alive and well. And when the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer returns to the Count Basie Theatre stage this Friday,  she’ll bring along some special friends with a Jersey Shore connection — while kicking off a weekend that boasts another special sleighride from a locally homegrown Santa: Brian Kirk.

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SEA BRIGHT: DUNESDAY BACK ON THE BEACH

The patio at the Mad Hatter becomes Dunesday Central for the daylong beach festival Saturday. (Photo by Colby Wilson. Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

In the months after Hurricane Sandy ripped through Sea Bright last October 29, Brian Kirk knew that keeping Dunesday in town was crucial to lifting its spirit.

But without Donovan’s Reef, which was obliterated by the storm, Kirk and his band, the Jirks, were forced to move their beachside fundraiser, now two decades old, to a new location.

“I was sad about Donovan’s from a nostalgic point of view. It was literally the first bar that hired me. It helped us become who we are,” Kirk tells redbankgreen.

“Dunesday is a brand now. It’s an individual, and it needs a home,” he said.

This year, that home is a few doors away from Donovan’s, at the Mad Hatter.

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WEEKEND: EAT, DRINK, LISTEN, REPEAT

Don’t even bother trying to curb your appetite at Red Bank Riverfest, which runs through Sunday in Marine Park. Details in the poster below. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, May 31:

RED BANK: Come sample the savory and sweet flavors at Riverfest, the annual three-day music and food festival in Marine Park. Stroll the “artisan’s alley” for handmade items and artwork, cruise the Navesink River, or dance your butt off in front of the waterfront stage to the likes of Brian Kirk & The Jirks, Woodfish, the Moroccan Sheepherders and the Jazz Lobsters. Free entry; no pets allowed.

MIDDLETOWNThe Middletown Arts Center hosts a Luau Party for kids ages 5 and older, offering crafts, limbo contests and games. Pizza and snacks will be provided. The luau runs from 6 to 9 p.m. 36 Church Street.

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RED BANK: RIVERFEST TO HEAT UP WEEKEND

Scenes from the 2012 edition of Red Bank Riverfest, which returns to Marine Park for a thre-night run starting Friday. (Click to enlarge)

Three days of heat and eats await visitors to Red Bank this weekend.

For the third consecutive year, after a decade-long layover, Riverfest returns to the banks of the Navesink River in Marine Park Friday night for a stay that extends into Sunday night.

And what this event be without a touch of sultry-bordering-on-threatening weather?

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