winterfestWhen life gives you winter, make Winterfest — the second annual edition of which returns to Lincroft’s Thompson Park this Saturday afternoon (pictured is a scene from the inaugural, snow-free Fest in 2015).

Winter may have made a much-delayed appearance, all at once and with a vengeance, in a way that immediately overstayed its welcome. But to the good people of the Monmouth County Parks System, the season of bare trees and bundled-up people is something to celebrate in all its sleek and spartan beauty. So when the low winter sun comes up on Thompson Park in Lincroft this Saturday, it will look down on the newly minted ritual known as Winterfest.

Going on between the hours of 1 to 5 pm, it’s the second annual edition of the event that’s designed to “banish the winter blues,” while spotlighting the many features and assets of the county’s flagship recreational facility — and this time, they’ve remembered to bring the snow.

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rb paddle 091215Rowers, kayakers, canoers, standup paddlers and others gathered at Red Bank’s Maple Cove Saturday afternoon for the fifth edition of Paddle the Navesink Day. The free, get-aquainted-with-the-waterway event runs until 4 p.m., rain or shine.  (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)


rb paddle day 091414 2Rowers, kayakers, canoers, standup paddlers and the just-plain-interested are invited to Maple Cove this Saturday, when Paddle the Navesink Day offers area residents a new perspective on Red Bank’s most beautiful asset and resource.

It’s about kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rowing, standup paddling. Actually, it’s about the history, culture, and ecology of the waterway from which a vibrant community took shape. Or perhaps more to the point, it’s about the opportunity to get acquainted — or to fall in love all over again — with the greater Red Bank Green’s most beautiful asset, resource, pride and joy.

When the event known as Paddle the Navesink Day returns for a fifth edition this Saturday, September 12, the rain-or-shine, late-summer “free community-wide celebration” will once again represent a unique convergence of local businesses, boating clubs and nonprofit organizations that’s hands-on, oars-in, and ready to make a believer of anyone who might have taken the river’s charms for granted.

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ft hancock 4 070113The first of four  public meetings on the preservation and repurposing of Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook, including the bayside Officers’ Row, above, will be held Friday in Lincroft.

ft hancock 1 070113For more than 70 years, it stood at the ready, protecting lower New York Harbor and the northern Jersey Shore from invasion by sea. Between its founding in 1898 and its decommissioning in 1974, the United States Army base at Fort Hancock was a center of activity at the northern tip of Sandy Hook — and today its landmark buildings await decisions on their preservation and ultimate repurposing.

This Friday, June 26, members of the public are welcome to attend the first in a series of four meetings of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee, hosted inside the Visitors Center at Thompson Park, Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. Committee members will be joined by representatives of Gateway National Recreation Area, the federal Landmark District that includes the entire Sandy Hook peninsula. Scheduled to commence at 9 am, the meeting will include a regularly scheduled public comment period that begins at 11:30.

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Press release from Monmouth County Parks System

The Monmouth County Parks System, headquartered at Thompson Park in Lincroft, has announced that its family campground at Turkey Swamp Park in Freehold Township will be opening for the season on Wednesday, April 1.

Located on Georgia Road, the campground features 64 wooded campsites; 52 of which can be reserved, while 12 are available on a first come, first serve basis. All campsites are pull-through, and offer water and electric hookups. The facility features drinking water, a dump station, picnic tables, modern restrooms with hot showers and laundry, as well as fire rings for charcoal cooking and campfires. Families are sure to appreciate “quiet hours,” from 10 pm to 7 am.

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Press release from Monmouth County Parks System

The Monmouth County Park System has added another training session for prospective docent volunteers on Sunday, March 15.  In addition to the morning session held at Huber Woods Environmental Center in Locust from 11 am to 12:30 pm, an afternoon session will be held at Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center in Port Monmouth from 2 to 3:30 pm.

Both sessions will cover everything docent volunteers need to welcome visitors and answer questions. Prospective volunteers (age 21 or older) should attend the session held at the location where they are interested in volunteering. Volunteers are needed for half-day shifts on weekends at Huber Woods Environmental Center. Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center is looking for volunteers from 1 to 4 pm on Sundays, April through October.

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marathonPress release from Monmouth County Parks System

Missed the deadline to pre-register for the Monmouth County Park System’s E. Murray Todd Half Marathon?  No problem.  The Park System will accept on-site registration starting at 7:15 am on race day — this Sunday, March 1.

With a start time of 9 am, the annual 13.1-mile race commences from the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College , and takes runners through residential areas of Lincroft, Holmdel and Colts Neck.  Race-day registration costs $50 per runner.

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Press release from Monmouth County Parks System

Looking to give your special needs child the best camp experience possible?  Head over to Thompson Park in Lincroft, between the hours of 6:30 to 8 pm on Tuesday, March 3, for a presentation entitled Camp Options for Children with Special Needs.

Hosted inside the park’s Visitors Center, the informational session features camp directors from the Monmouth County Park System’s Therapeutic Recreation, Odyssey Adventure, Sports and Fitness, Fort Monmouth, Cultural Services and Nature Camps.  Parents and guardians can discover which camps best fit their child’s needs and interests; what supports are available, and how the Park System’s inclusion process works.

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mc parks artPress release from Monmouth County Parks System

This May, the Monmouth County Parks System is pleased to announce its first ever Spring Arts Festival. Held inside the Creative Arts Center at the Parks System’s Thompson Park headquarters on Newman Springs Road, this juried arts festival runs from 11 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday, May 2 and 3.

Entry deadline is February 16 for the event, to be judged by Red Bank photographers Robert and Elisabeth Koch-McKay (of McKay Imaging  Photography Studio and Gallery) and Joyce Urbanski of Holmdel. The event is open to artists from all mediums.

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winterfestWhen life gives you winter, make Winterfest — the inaugural celebration of which happens at Lincroft’s Thompson Park this Saturday afternoon.

“Cross your fingers and hope for snow!” reads the perky press release for Winterfest, a celebration of the season that arrives at Lincroft’s Thompson Park for a first-ever edition this Saturday, January 10. A presentation of the Monmouth County Parks System, the event is designed to “banish the winter blues” with a wonderland of outdoor activities that range from a Frozen-themed scavenger hunt and broomball games for the kids, to cross-country ski and snowshoe clinics for grownup trekkers (with gear rentals available).

There’s a great deal more to be found under the weak winter sun between the hours of 1:30 and 5:30 pm — including such all-ages diversions as ice skating (bring your own skates), horse-drawn sleigh rides, a snowman building contest and snowball fight — much of it weather-permitting of course, but with enough snowless fun (winter crafts, costume character parade) to make it worth a visit.

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Ft MonmouthPress release from Monmouth County Parks System

The Monmouth County Park System is looking for volunteers to become docents at the Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls. Are you 21 years of age or older and enjoy interacting with people? You may have what it takes to step into this exciting volunteer position. Volunteer docents welcome visitors and answer questions about the facility.

Those interested in becoming a docent are invited to attend an orientation sessions from 9-10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 13 at the Recreation Center.  Once trained, docents will be asked to volunteer during the week from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

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Deep Cut PhotoPress release from Monmouth County Parks System

Interested in nature photography? The Monmouth County Parks System is looking for entries for its upcoming photography exhibit,  The Residents of Deep Cut Gardens  and from now through November 21, professional and amateur photographers 18 years and older are invited to submit images for consideration into the show.

The exhibit will be open 10 am to 4 pm daily, January 4 through 31 at the Deep Cut Gardens Horticultural Center on Red Hill Road in Middletown. An opening reception is planned from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday, January 3. During this free event, the public is invited to view the exhibit, meet the photographers, and enjoy light refreshments.

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Woods HollowThe rollercoaster wooded trails and fields of the county’s Tatum Park are once more the setting for the annual Woods Hollow Bike Races, this Saturday morning.

It’s pretty much the last of the yearly outdoor recreational events before the turnback of the clocks — and while there’ll still be plenty of open-air public activities to come on the greater Green, chances are they’ll be enticing attendees with cups of hot chocolate from here on in.

Right now, with the local foliage season at its most colorful, there are few better leaf-spotting locales than the Monmouth County Parks Systems’ Tatum Park in Middletown — and no better excuse to get acquainted with Tatum than the Woods Hollow Classic Mountain Bike Race, the 19th annual edition of which takes to the rollercoaster wooded trails and open fields of the park this Saturday, November the First.

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parker-homestead-2007The 17th-century Parker Homestead in Little Silver is just one of the historic homes on the greater Green taking center stage this weekend. The T. Thomas Fortune House, below, is another. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

rb fortune house 100614 1In a season when we’re all a bit more cognizant of old, dark houses, a birthday celebration designed to call attention to one of Red Bank’s most endangered historic structures — the T. Thomas Fortune House — kicks off a weekend that also offers some rare opportunities to step back in time.

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Thompson ParkOne of the best kept not-so-secrets of Fall takes the spotlight on Sunday, when Thompson Park Day takes over the spacious park located just off Newman Springs Road.

Strut Your Mutt. Paint a pumpkin. Climb a wall. See a show — maybe even scare a crow.

When the family-friendly Fall festival known as Thompson Park Day returns to the Monmouth County Parks System’s home turf in Lincroft this Sunday, October 19, it will come with all the tried-and-true trappings of the annual recreational panorama — the wagon rides and the kids’ races, the animal shows and pottery demos, the puppet shows and sideshow entertainers, the skiing and canoeing, the food and craft vendors, and the Pie Eating Competition.

It also packs some extra surprises that are native to this event beneath the mellow October sun — the Diaper Derby and the Dash for Cash, the Make Your Own Scarecrow Contest and of course the 11th annual Strut Your Mutt Contest, in which dogs take center stage for the most popular Halloween costume contest on four legs.

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