A GUIDE TO KABOOM, COMING & GOING

LargemapDowntown will be closed to traffic beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The train is the easiest way in and out of town the night of the fireworks, coordinators say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

rb-trainIn addition to a powerhouse fireworks show, one guarantee for Sunday’s KaBoom event in Red Bank is the logjam of crowds and traffic that comes with it.

Tens of thousands of visitors stream into town by car, rail, on foot and by bike. Gridlock on the periphery of the central business district is likely before the show. Your “secret” path out of town afterward? Forget about it. It’s taillight city everywhere.

Below is a comprehensive rundown on what to expect, where to go and how to get in and out of town with the same amount of hair you came with.

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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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DONE GOOD: ALL THIS AND BROWNIE MOO

brownie-mooOrphaned street dog (turned guest of honor) Brownie Moo joins Project Animal Worldwide in welcoming you to a Doggie Date Island Style night this Friday, at D’Jeet? in The Grove. (Photo by Kim Levin)

Done2The attire ranges from black tie and tails to, well, tails — and admission ranges from a raising of the auction paddle, to simply raising your paw and volunteering. This week’s DONE GOOD roundup presents a typically eclectic smorgasbord of ways in which to help, and have a Done Good Time doing it.

For Alan Fisher of A.H. Fisher Diamonds — a native Red Banker who’s “enjoyed watching the fireworks for over 50 years” — doing a decent for the community can mean plastering his Broad Street storefront with signage that decrees a Cash for Gold (and silver, platinum, diamonds) event, proceeds from which will be donated to the presentation of this year’s Kaboomfest Fireworks on the Navesink event. As Fisher points out, the three-day extravaganza (scheduled for July 1-3) utilizes no taxpayer money, and has relied upon ever more innovative fundraising vehicles in an era when event costs have skyrocketed in sync with the fest’s centerpiece display. Fisher’s cash-on-spot KaBoom KaChing runs from this Friday, June 10 through July 9 — just in time for the KaMittee to get busy planning next year’s skysplash.

There’s more Done Good under the June moon, and it’s on view with the flip of a paperless page.

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VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT FOR KABOOM SHOW

lunch-music-11The summerlong Lunch Music series at Riverside Gardens Park kicked off Wednesday. Volunteers are needed at the event to help raise money for Kaboom fireworks. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Lunch Music made its intro overlooking the Navesink River in Red Bank Wednesday, a sweat-inducing afternoon that sent viewers to the few shaded spots available at Riverside Gardens Park.

As they were last year, representatives from RiverCenter were there with a table full of pamphlets of information while the Andreach-Crepta Jazz Duo hit the first notes of the summerlong series.

One aspect missing from the event, though, was a volunteer waving the yellow bucket for the Kaboom Fireworks Committee.

The committee, heading into the home stretch to raise funds for this year’s fireworks show on the Navesink River, is looking for people to get involved to help in the annual appeal from the public.

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FIREWORKS FEE AMENDED FOR KIDS

kaboom-muralThe Red Bank council amended the entry fee for the Kaboom fireworks Wednesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s council had a collective palm-to-forehead moment Wednesday night.

Apparently caught up earlier this month in the haste of getting the entry charge for the KaBoom fireworks show formally passed so the organizers could go to print on advertising material, the council flubbed the fee structure for the show at its last meeting.

This, even after a pretty lengthy discourse on what qualifies as a child – and a mid-meeting text exchange with KaBoom committee Chairman Charles Moran.

“In confirming and calls and text, we probably missed something,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

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BRING BACK THE 4TH. OR THE 3RD. WHATEVER

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By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s  Kaboom Fireworks Committee is asking for the public’s help in landing a grant from Liberty Mutual under the insurance giant’s Bring Back The 4th campaign.

The fireworks organizers could bank up to $10,000 to help pay for the annual fireworks display on the Navesink, which doesn’t actually happen on the Fourth of July, but the 3rd; the fourth is the rain date.

Minor detail.

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KABOOM: TEN BUCKS AT RIVERSIDE GARDENS

riverside-gardens-crowd1Fireworks watchers at Riverside Gardens Park will have to pay; viewing from other public properties will remain free. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Primo pyrotechnics views will cost you at one public location in Red Bank this July 3.

The Kaboom Fireworks Committee, apparently back on its feet through a revamped fundraising model, is backing off a previous plan to charge for views of the annual Independence Day fireworks show at three waterfront properties, and has decided on just one: Riverside Gardens Park.

The other two riverside locations, at the borough library and Marine Park, will remain free.

“They are on very, very sound financial footing,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said of the fireworks.

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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW

pink-linePink striping down River Road in Fair Haven in celebration of Pink Week, which continues this week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

You’ll notice the redbankgreen masthead’s looking a more on the red side than green these days. That’s because last week kicked off Pink Week, Riverview Medical Center and Red Bank RiverCenter’s annual push for breast cancer awareness, detection and treatment.

We’re not here just for supportive graphics, but on this Monday morning to keep you abreast (couldn’t help it) of what that’s all about, and other news from the end of April. Click on.

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KABOOM GETS A BOOST FROM THE BANK

kaboom-presserKaboom! Executive Director Charles Moran, right, looks on as Brenda Ross-Dulan of Wells Fargo announces the bank’s donation to the fireworks show. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s annual fireworks extravaganza got some serious firepower Friday.

Wells Fargo bank, which recently moved into Broad Street and has become ubiquitous since taking over Wachovia bank, has made the biggest contribution to Kaboom! Fireworks on the Navesink in the event’s history.

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KABOOMFEST PAYS ITS DEBT TO RED BANK

kick-in-kaboomersKaBoom volunteers making their way through the crowd with donations pails at Riverside Gardens Park in 2009. That’s KaBoom chairman Charles Moran at left.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just a couple months before the 2011 edition of Red Bank’s fireworks show is set to blast off from the Navesink, the Kaboomfest committee has paid off the balance from last year’s display and is getting ready for a somewhat revamped show for Independence Day weekend.

This time, though, officials, citing what they believe is a more sustainable fundraising model, don’t anticipate carrying a balance owed to Red Bank into 2012.

“No, we don’t,” Kaboom Chairman Charles Moran told redbankgreen. “Our budget includes being able to pay Red Bank this year.”

Bringing on major corporate sponsors like Meridian Health (owner of Riverview Medical Center) and Wells Fargo, plus charging for premium views of the show, are among the top factors in being able to clear the ledger on time, Moran said.

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RUMSON FIREWORKS STILL UP IN THE AIR

A YouTube video of the fireworks in Rumson last year. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Now that Red Bank has decided to move forward with KaBoom ’11 with a couple of changes, leadership at the other end of the Navesink can start talking about its own fireworks show.

First question: Will there be one?

More than likely, said John Ekdahl, mayor of Rumson — which puts on a scaled-down replica of the same fireworks display Red Bank has, at half the cost and a fraction of the crowd. But a final decision won’t be made until the Rumson Endowment Fund Committee, which helps fund special events in the borough, meets in the middle of February, Ekdahl said.

Before that happens, though, officials want to meet with Kaboom! committee members to untangle the lines of communication between the two boroughs, Ekdahl said.

“We want get the scoop for Kaboom! as far as what they’re up to and whether or not they’re going to have it,” Ekdahl said.

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FIREWORKS: FEES IN, FINES UP

fight2-070310Several fights broke out among teenagers gathered at Broad and West Front streets at the 2010 fireworks. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A waterfront view of this year’s Kaboom fireworks is going to cost you. So will acting out of line.

Following the recommendations of the provisional Kaboom! Task Force, the borough council intends to charge for seating at borough-owned waterfront property — the library, Riverside Gardens Park and Marine Park.

The fee, which hasn’t been established, would help the fireworks committee raise money for the $250,000 display and cover the borough’s expenses for police enforcement and cleanup efforts, Administrator Stanley Sickels said.

In an effort to curtail the number of alcohol-related incidents and “shenanigans,” Red Bank will also bring in more cops and increase fines for offenses including disorderly conduct, urinating in public and having an open container of alcohol, said Councilman Michael DuPont.

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TASK FORCE: CHARGE FOR FIREWORKS VIEW

umbrellaSpectators, like these in Riverside Gardens Park at the 2010 show, would have to pay a ‘nominal’ entry fee to watch the fireworks, a study suggests. (Click to enlarge)

shouldersBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s KaBoom fireworks may no longer be free — and as freewheeling — as they’ve been in recent years.

The ad hoc Kaboom! Task Force, formed in September to conduct a top-to-bottom examination of the annual event delivered its final report to the borough council Wednesday night.

The diagnosis: change is needed.

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KABOOM TO GET A REVIEW

kaboomA mural depicting Red Bank’s annual fireworks show on the side of Investors Savings Bank on White Street. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s annual fireworks show is going to get a “quick review” from a new task force formed Monday night.

At the request of the KaBoomfest fireworks committee, borough officials passed a resolution to form a task force to look at “every” aspect of the wildly popular July 4 pyro display, a move they say is needed to keep up with the times.

But at least one appointee, former Mayor Mike Arnone, hadn’t been told he was on it.

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ROAD REOPENS IN TIME FOR KABOOM SURGE

nrrd-062910A man checked out the newly rebuilt roadway over the earthen dam shortly after it reopened Tuesday night. (Click to enlarge)

A stretch of Navesink River Road in Middletown was reopened Tuesday night, 13 weeks after a culvert collapse that Monmouth County officials thought would take four weeks to fix.

The reopening eliminates one potential source of trouble in keeping huge numbers of cars moving into and out of Red Bank for the KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink Saturday night. The event is typically watched by a crowd estimated at about 150,000 people.

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MORE WOES IN ROAD FIX AS KABOOM LOOMS

A culvert collapse at Poricy Pond, marked by the blue bubble, has closed Navesink River Road between Hubbard Avenue and Poricy Lane for the past 12 weeks.

Monmouth County officials now say they are “hopeful” that a trouble-plagued repair of a collapsed portion of Navesink River Road in Middletown will be completed in time for the Independence Day weekend after a water line broke and flooded the worksite earlier this week.

And once again, they’re blaming New Jersey-American Water Co. for a mishap.

The latest delay threatens to add to traffic woes for Red Bank visitors traveling by car to and from the July 3 KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink show. The event is estimated to attract some 150,000 spectators and customarily results in post-show traffic jams lasting 90 minutes or more.

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KaPOP

kaboom-041410Wednesday night’s mini fireworks show at the Monmouth Boat Club, as seen from the Molly Pitcher Inn. (Click to enlarge)

No, they weren’t testing the fireworks, as one out-of-towner speculated from the parking lot of the Moly Pitcher Inn Wednesday night.

That brief, and aerially contained mini-fireworks show put on last night at the Monmouth Boat Club in Red Bank was the coda to the eighth annual spring fundraiser for the KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink.

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BASIE GOES BOOM WITH INDOOR FIREWORKS

basie-fireworks2The guys at Garden State Fireworks, who put on the annual KaBoom! fireworks, set off some sparks Wednesday night at Count Basie Theatre. (Click to enlarge. Photo by Anthony Trufolo)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Setting off fireworks in an 85-year-old building sounds nothing short of disastrous, right?

You’d think so, but Chris and Augie Santore are masters of pyrotechnics and, besides, a little showing off for their eager crowd was expected.

The owners of Garden State Fireworks made a visit to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Wednesday night to give a few hundred people a glimpse into all the work that goes into the annual Kaboom! Fireworks on the Navesink show. The literally flashy live action of indoor fireworks was part of a presentation on how the display is coordinated with music.

You could tell by facial reactions that most, if not all, of the people in the crowd were surprised to see just how labor intensive setting up a fireworks show is.

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KABOOMERS MULL TWO-DAY FEST

kaboom-riversideLive entertainment at Riverside Gardens and Marine parks is already a staple of the annual fireworks show. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The KaBoom brand may be expanding in Red Bank.

Although the move isn’t yet official, officials are slipping the name Kaboom! Fireworks on the Navesink under the umbrella of KaBoomfest! in order to fit in with a plan to make the show a two-day event this year.

KaBoom! committee member Charles Moran told redbankgreen Tuesday that the committee is seeking local approvals to add a day-long an evening concert and festival to the Independence Day weekend.

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KABOOM! BUDGET GAP GONE

kick-in-kaboomersYellow-shirted KaBoom volunteers making their way through the crowd at Riverside Gardens Park last Friday evening. That’s KaBoom vice chairman Charles Moran at left.

Visitors to the latest Kaboom Fireworks on the Navesink show kicked in $12,000 toward the cost of the event Friday night.

Organizers say that sum, collected by volunteers working the Red Bank crowd with bright yellow pails, is just about enough to close the gap of about $15,000 needed to put this year’s edition in the black.

With mail-in and online donations still coming in, “I think we’re there,” event chairman Peter Reinhart tells redbankgreen.

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BRINGING IN THE BIG GUNS

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A recreational vessel speeds past the barge carrying the KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink display as it nears the Oceanic Bridge en route to Red Bank Thursday afternoon.

A second barge is scheduled to anchor just west of the bridge early Friday morning. The two vessels serve as platforms for simultaneous fireworks displays just a few miles apart.

img_8777gifThe barge, in from Staten Island, heads upriver to Red Bank.

MEDIA KaBOOM

Star-Ledger ‘vodcast’ maven Brian Donohue, leveraging his hometown ties to Red Bank to avoid the ride to Newark this morning, shot today’s edition of Ledger Live on the banks of the Navesink.

Topic? Fireworks.

The first half of the video is an interview with Peter Reinhart, chairman of KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink scheduled for 9pm Friday in Red Bank. Rain date is Saturday, same time.

The second half is about the Santore family of Garden State Fireworks. They’re the folks who are throwing up the display, which Chris Santore tells us is one of the nation’s 10 largest.

IN oRBit: BEFORE THE FUSE GETS LIT

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riverside-gardens-crowd

The pre-show crowd at Riverside Gardens Park last year.

With KaBoomsday just a day away, and all concerned bravely trying to view the glass as 70 percent empty — that’s the optimistic side of a 30 percent precipitation forecast —  today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit complements our own ongoing coverage of KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink with a look at the live entertainment being presented on two full fully equipped stages in Marine Park and Riverside Gardens.

It’s a lineup that includes Josh ZuckermanJobonannoKirk & the Jirks and more, all of them experienced hands at lighting the party-fuse for an all-ages “captive” audience.

Despite the decrease in dollars from corporate sponsors, it’s a show that’ll go on with no discernible cutting of corners, thanks to the stepping up of individual donors and a heartening volunteer response that met and even exceeded the staffing needs of the organizing committee. Worth a couple of oohs and aahs, right there.

From there we take it down to the Asbury Lanes, one of our favorite fringe haunts and the site of a July 4th art happening called Oh Say Can You Screen! As Dorothy Creamer explains, it’s a celebration of the “affordable and accessible” art of screen printing, curated by one of our favorite “galleristas,” Sarah Potter, in collaboration with DJ Sweet Swedersen. And what can be more all-American than tater tots, Pabst Blue Ribbon, dancing to old records and that All-U-Can-Bowl deal?

All this plus a myriad of reasons to excuse yourself from that barbecue reunion of laid-off co-workers — here and now in the  pixelated pages of oRBit!