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092014 touchtruck19The kids are in the driver’s seat once more this Saturday at the annual Touch-a-Truck fundraiser in Red Bank, while Middletown Day offers an opportunity to get hands-on with a NorthSTAR emergency helicopter (below).

middletown-day-copter“Every kid stops and watches when a police car or fire engine races by,” says Monmouth Day Care Center exec director Heidi Zaentz — and this Saturday, they’ll have an opportunity to get up-close and hands-on with various trucks, tractors, and emergency vehicles — even an emergency Medevac helicopter at a couple of big yearly events that have become major fundraising vehicles in their own right.

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Middletown DayBouncing back for 2015, the annual Middletown Day celebration brings colorful sights, sounds and savor to the grounds of the township’s Parks and Rec headquarters this Saturday.

Mtown day logo 2015The annual Middletown Day celebration returns to the headquarters of the township’s Department of Parks and Recreation (the Croydon Hall facility on Leonardville Road in Leonardo) for a rain-or-shine afternoon of all-ages activity that commences this Saturday at 11 a.m.

It’s an eclectic event that promises everything from bounce-houses to business showcases; live rock music to rock-climbing walls; touch-a-firetruck ops to petting zoo — plus food and craft vendors, Granny’s Tag Sale, kids’ activities, all-ages hayrides and all-for-fun sporting contests and tournaments.

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mtown-day-500x375That’s one giant step for Middletown, as the Moon-bounces are inflated for a Middletown Day celebration that caps the township’s 350th birthday year. (File photo by Dustin Racioppi)

When the annual Middletown Day celebration returns to the township’s Croydon Hall facility on Leonardville Road this Saturday, September 27, it will arrive with the tried and true trappings: touch-a-truck and petting zoo; food and craft vendors; live rock music and rock-climb walls; hayrides and flea market; soccer shoot-outs and bounce-house activities for the kiddies.

What makes the 2014 edition of the local-favorite fall festival truly special is that it represents the final event in the township’s Middletown 350 observance, a year-long slate of special events that began at the 2013 edition of Middletown Day — reinforcing the fact that Monmouth County’s largest municipality can trace its birthday back as far as the entire State of New Jersey.

Adding extra excitement to the 2014 event will be a couple of extended codas to the rain-or-shine, noon to 6 pm activities. A free concert by The Beatlemania Stage Show — featuring Middletown’s own Lucien Nocelli as John — will take place between 6 and 7:30 pm on the football field of the Croydon complex, HQ of the township’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Middletown 350 is given a slam-bang sendoff with a fireworks display at 7:30 — probably the last pyrotechnics show you’ll see this season — sponsored by Ice World.

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Calendar1Students from several Middletown elementary schools pose with their contributions to a display of Calendar Project art, now on view at the township’s Arts Center.

Press release from Middletown Arts Center

In honor of the 350th Anniversary of Middletown, students from twelve township elementary schools reproduced their artwork from the annual “My Middletown School Year Calendar Project” on 4’ x 4’ mural panels, currently on view at the Middletown Arts Center (MAC). Having been displayed at the Church Street facility since the Middletown 350 Parade on June 21, the panels will be relocated for display to Croydon Hall on Leonardville Road, in conjunction with Middletown Day on Saturday, September 27.

The “My Middletown School Year Calendar Project” was initiated in 2010 by Linda Kish, who serves on the Board of Trustees of the Middletown Township Cultural and Arts Council. Participating Middletown elementary schools include Middletown Village, Harmony, Lincroft, Leonardo, New Monmouth, Ocean Avenue, Navesink, Fairview, Bayview, Nutswamp, Port Monmouth and River Plaza Elementary Schools.

The students worked with their art teachers to create pieces depicting places around Middletown Township. The selected entries were then forwarded to the MAC, which made the final selection of art featured in the calendar.

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mtown-dayMoonbounces and other rubbery, bouncy things were heavily used by children for Saturday’s Middletown Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


To the casual observer, Middletown Day was another Middletown Day — music, firetrucks on display, bouncy houses that echo the joyous shrieks of children.

But for a while there, a tough budget season dictated there wasn’t going to be a Middletown Day this year.

A little rallying, though, resurrected the annual tradition before it had a chance to be completely scratched from the calendar.

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