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.
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.
It’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.
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)
It took a team of 200 volunteers less than eight hours to build a new playground at The Community YMCA on Saturday, November 2.
Press release from The Communty YMCA
A dream is now a reality for children in Red Bank, as their drawings were turned into a new playground on Saturday, November 2. In less than eight hours, a play space was built at The Community YMCA’s Family Health and Wellness Center with the help of more than 200 volunteers from The Community YMCA, Good Neighbor Pharmacy and the non-profit KaBOOM!. The new playground —which was made possible by funds donated by Good Neighbor Pharmacy and matched by its parent company, AmerisourceBergen — will serve hundreds of children in the community for years to come.
A new playground will appear at The Community YMCA’s Family Health and Wellness Center on November 2, courtesy of local sponsors and a crew of community volunteers.
Press release from The Community YMCA
Children at The Community YMCA’s Family Health and Wellness Center in Red Bank will be able to enjoy a new playground this fall, designed with input from kids and built by community volunteers with generous support from the nonprofit KaBOOM! and Good Neighbor Pharmacy.
“The Y is pleased to have been selected by KaBOOM! and Good Neighbor Pharmacy to receive a new playground,” said The Community YMCA President and CEO Rhonda Anderson. “We are dedicated to nurturing the development of children, and we know how important it is for all children to have a safe place to learn, grow and thrive.”
The new playground will be built by Y volunteers and members of the local community on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Health and Wellness Center, located at 166 Maple Avenue. Approximately 100 community volunteers will be needed at the “Community Build Day” to work alongside organizers from KaBOOM! and employees from Good Neighbor Pharmacy, said Christian Buckman of Oceanport, a member of the Y Board of Management, who is leading the playground Planning Committee.
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.
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.
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.”
A beginner gets acclimated with the water at last year’s inaugural Paddle the Navesink Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
Red Bank has its share of river-themed events. There’s Riverfest in June, a three-day bonanza of food and entertainment. There’s Kaboom Fireworks on the Navesink, one the nation’s largest pyrotechnics shows. Rowing and sailing regattas dot the calendar three seasons of the year, and there’s even the occasional iceboat race.
But only Paddle the Navesink Day encourages visitors who have no affiliation with boating clubs to actually get out onto, and into, our beautiful Navesink River in myriad ways, to satisfy myriad curiosities.
“Many people know about Red Bank, the shopping and dining, but they know very little about the water,” said Linda Ensor, who as part of Navesink River Rowing Club helps organize Paddle Day. “The Navesink River is really a gem, and it’s a very, very diverse body of water.”
A YouTube upload of a fight in Red Bank Sunday. It appears to be outside the 7-11, in which case police arrested four people for disorderly conduct. Below, police made a strong show of force, bring in an armored vehicle from the Monmouth County fleet. (Click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Red Bank police made one fewer arrest during the KaBoom Fireworks Sunday than last year, showing, statistically at least, that the festival organizers’ push to bring the popular fireworks show back to a family focused event missed the mark.
However, police say they noticed a difference in the mood this year, and said there are a couple factors to consider when looking at the numbers.
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.
Spectators watching the 2010 fireworks from outside the Red Bank Public Library. (Click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The weekend extravaganza that is Kaboomfest kicks off Friday night, a three-day indulgence on the banks of our beautiful Navesink that includes rides, amusements, live music and one breathtaking pyrotechnics show that qualifies as one of the country’s largest.
There’s a lot to soak in of the borough’s lauded tradition, from parking to security, to where to catch the show and how to beat out after it’s done.
Your friends at redbankgreen have got you covered, and the articles below touch on all the facets of the show. Below is a shrunken version of those stories, providing a snapshot of what this weekend is all about.
A 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.”
Rumson’s fireworks will take place same time as Red Bank’s on July 3. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
While hundreds of thousands rub elbows to get a view of the Independence Day fireworks in Red Bank Sunday, just a few miles east, there’ll be a more subdued, but pyrotechnically identical, affair going on in Rumson.
Hundreds 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
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.
Red Bank’s KaBoomFest kicked off its 2011 fundraising season Thursday night with a tent party on the lawn of Hovnanian Enterprises’ HQ, followed by a sample pyrotechnics show on the Navesink by Garden State Fireworks, which will once again be handling the big show on July 3.
To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.
The 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.
A promotional video for the KaBOOM fireworks show. Below, Tim Hogan, new chairman of KaBoom’s executive committee. (Click to enlarge photo)
Coming 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.
Hundreds 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)
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.
It seems that KaBoomfest is becoming two events in one: a night of drunken rowdiness, largely among teenagers who hang out on Red Bank’s West Front and Broad streets during the fireworks, and the traditional night of family-oriented entertainment.
These photos capture the brighter side of the event, from the smiles of festivalgoers to the gunpowder wizardry of the folks at Garden State Fireworks, who paint the sky so brilliantly.
Thanks to Peter Lindner for the barge pix and shots of the Friday night concert in Marine Park.
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.
Two unidentified young men were part of a melee that broke out at Broad and Front streets moments before the fireworks show. (Click to enlarge)
A number of fights erupted during the celebration of the 51st annual Red Bank fireworks show Saturday night.
Police said they had arrested an estimated ten persons by 11p Saturday, mostly on disorderly behavior charges related to alcohol consumption.
No arrests were believed to have been made, however, in connection with a brawl involving eight or ten teenage males at the town’s busiest intersection Broad Street at the juncture of East and West Front streets just minutes before the fireworks show began.