SANTAS, EDDIES TO OCCUPY BROAD STREET

christmasvacationIt’s full! The number of aspiring Cousin Eddies taking part in the second annual EddieCon pub crawl has been capped at twenty — but there’s still room for not-so-secret Santas to hitch up to the SantaCom team, also going on around Red Bank this Saturday afternoon.

By TOM CHESEK

bad-santaHe appears right around this time each year, making people smile; a familiar figure instantly recognizable by his trademark headgear and his distinctive transportation.

We’re talking of course about Cousin Eddie, the boorish ne’er-do-well played by Randy Quaid in various Vacation movies — specifically Christmas Vacation (and its direct-to-video sequel). The image of Eddie, clad in bathrobe and flap-eared trapper hat, has been burned into our nation’s pop-cultural consciousness in recent years. And on Saturday, December 17, downtown Red Bank revelers and strolling shoppers may encounter another “thing you can’t un-see,” when nearly two dozen Cousin Eddies take to the streets (and saloons) in support of a worthy cause, as part of the newly minted local tradition known as EddieCon.

And by some Christmas magic, Saturday also marks the first appearance in Red Bank of SantaCon, the international pub-crawl phenomenon described as “a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason.”

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COACH ASKS PUBLIC TO KICK IN FOR CLINIC

enricoEnrico Ciabattoni is spearheading an effort to raise money for boys and girls soccer clinics in Red Bank. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

A possible solution to a money problem could be as simple as shaking a can or putting an open hand out and asking, ‘Can you spare some cash?’

That’s not how Enrico Ciabattoni wants to do business, though.

The Peters Place resident, trying to raise funds for an end-of-summer soccer clinic at the Red Bank Middle School, is making the kids who want to be part of the camp do the work.

“I wanted it more to be the kids learning to help themselves rather than going to someone and saying, hey, can you give us some money?” Ciabattoni said.

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BASEBALL, SOFTBALL RETURNING TO RBMS

dan-campbellDan Campbell, a member of the Red Bank Middle School Athletics Foundation, says spring sports will go on, but financial support is needed. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Despite statewide funding cuts that translated to the scrapping of all athletics last year at Red Bank Middle School, sports will, as promised, return to Red Bank.

The Red Bank Middle School Athletics Foundation, which started in November with a small group of parents, announced last week that spring baseball and softball are back on the roster.

And with a little in-kind support from the school district, the group is bringing the spring season back without a dime of taxpayer money, member Dan Campbell said.

“I don’t think I can find words to really express the work this foundation has done to support the sports,” Superintendent Laura Morana said. “I have a lot of admiration and appreciation for the work that they’re doing.”

It hasn’t been an easy task, and will continue to be a challenge, Campbell said.

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RBMS WILL GET SPORTS BACK, GROUP SAYS

rbmsThe leader of a grassroots group formed to save sports says Red Bank Middle School will see its sports program return. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just a few seconds after hearing earlier this year that all sports at Red Bank Middle School were being dropped for financial reasons, the thought popped into Gene Horowitz’s head: he had to find a way to bring them back.

“Right away I was thinking, it’s too important to too many kids,” said Horowitz, who has two sons in the middle school.

So he started dialing up some heavy-hitters in town so they could all put their heads together and find a way to make it happen. The Red Bank Middle School Athletics Foundation met for the first time Wednesday night. It’s no longer a thought. Sports will return, Horowitz said.

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