Ron LevyPiano virtuoso Ron Levy (above) guests with the Monmouth Symphony in a season-capping event, Saturday night at the Count Basie. Up on Tower Hill, baritone Gerald Metz (below) is among the vocal artists teaming up in HEAVENLY HARMONY for the Monmouth Civic Chorus.

Gerald Metz

There are surely worse dilemmas to be had in this world; more difficult choices to be made. But for local lovers of the classical repertory, this weekend poses quite the pickle, with two Red Bank venues hosting must-see events presented by a couple of the best-loved borough-based performing arts organizations.

It begins up on Tower Hill this Friday, when the Monmouth Civic Chorus continues its current season at First Presbyterian Church with a display of Heavenly Harmony that draws from the “visionary and triumphant” work of some choral music masters.

Then, on Saturday, down on Monmouth Street, the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra concludes another successful season at the Count Basie Theatre with an eclectic concert highlighted by an audience favorite that’s been called the ultimate musical marital aid and audio aphrodisiac. Read More »


anderson menna 050115Mayor Pasquale Menna, right, at last year’s inaugural Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball. The fundraiser returns to the Oyster Point Hotel on Friday as one of several benefit events around the borough this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

The month of May flowers into full effect with more than just greenery and colorful scenery — it’s also prime time for charity galas and other fundraising vehicles, dedicated to the benefit of some of our area’s hardest-working nonprofit organizations.

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   RBIFF 042714 80Sunny and cool temperatures are forecast for Sunday’s festival, held in Red Bank’s White Street parking lot. This year’s version will highlight the roster of Heineken-owned beers. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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It’s being touted as the fifth annual edition — and if you don’t happen to have any memory of the previous four (possibly due to eat, drink and general merriment), it could be because what was once the “Red Bank International Flavour Festival” has returned, rebranded and bigger than ever, as the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest.

One of the more popular and successful seasonal attractions to pitch its tent in Red Bank within recent years, the family-friendly happening from promoter RUE Events commandeers the White Street municipal parking lot this Sunday for an afternoon-and-evening that mixes many of the best-liked attributes of the old-time Red Bank Food Festivals and the latter-day Oysterfests.

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anderson menna 050115Mayor Pasquale Menna, right with Carol and John Anderson at the first Mayor’s Ball, in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Press release from Red Bank Mayor’s Ball Committee 

Mayor Pasquale Menna will be the host — and former Mayor Edward J. McKenna Jr. will serve as master of ceremonies — when the Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball returns to The Oyster Point Hotel for its second annual edition on Friday, May 6.

The event, which begins at 7 p.m., will honor retired public works supervisor and zoning board member Jesse Garrison (Humanitarian Award), the Count Basie Theatre (Cultural and Arts Award), the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department (Historical Legacy Award), Philip J. Bowers & Co. (Urban Development Award), and Riverview Medical Center (Manufacturing and Technology Award). Red Bank RiverCenter, the Special Improvement District founded in 1991, will be recognized as it marks its 25th Anniversary.

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wedding walk 032215 2Wedding Walk participants checking their itineraries during the 2015 edition of the annual event. Below, sidewalk markers indicate shopping routes. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[UPDATE:  The concluding reception of this event is now scheduled for 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m.]

wedding walk 032215 4For prospective brides and grooms (and brides and brides, and grooms and grooms), it’s the most significant set of steps this side of that “walk down the aisle” — the annual Red Bank Wedding Walk, the 2016 edition of which renews its vows on Sunday.

Showcasing the products and services of more than 40 area businesses, it’s a real-world, real-time stroll through all the borough has to offer committed couples, from dress shops, confectioners and florists to salons, jewelers and photographers. And Red Bank, as befits its status as a “one-stop shopping destination,” is ready once again for its close-up on the first day of Spring, 2016.

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the wag 062114StreetLife veteran act the Wag performing on Broad Street in 2014.

Press release from Red Bank RiverCenter

Street Life vertIn an annual call for talent, Red Bank RiverCenter is seeking experienced street performers — musicians, magicians, and other entertainers — to entertain downtown Red Bank this summer.

Entertainers will be selected through open auditions and presented through RiverCenter’s popular StreetLife program, now in its 16th year. Interested artists are invited to take part in auditions beginning 6 pm on Thursday, March 10, at the Count Basie Rehearsal Studio (99 Monmouth Street, 2nd Floor) in Red Bank.

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112914 horseride3Why go buggy navigating the malls, when you can enjoy Red Bank from an old-fashioned horse and carriage?

As surely as Black Friday nips at the heels of Thanksgiving Thursday, so too does Small Business Saturday get an electrified head start with the first flash of Friday night’s Town Lighting extravaganza in downtown Red Bank.

And when the shop-local showcase promotion returns Saturday, it will herald a day of special holiday-themed features that continue every weekend through December 20 — a slate of Santa sightings, scavenger hunts, horsey rides, harmonizing performers, mobile mannequins and more; all designed to enhance the hustle and bustle of the shopping experience here in the business blocks of the area’s undisputed Capital of Christmastime.

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girls night outGirls of most ages are invited to gather in downtown Red Bank this Thursday for the latest in a series of Girls Night Out events designed to spotlight the town’s most engaging shops and eateries. (Photo by Susan Ericson)

It happens but twice each year in Red Bank — and it happens for the final time here in 2015, when on Thursday, October 15, more than 40 borough-based restaurants, retailers, entertainment venues and service businesses invite women from all around the greater Green to the latest in an ongoing series of Girls Night Out events.

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oysterfest 2012 1The Guinness Oyster Festival returns to the White Street lot in Red Bank Sunday. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

rb oysterfest 3 092312Consider the oyster: a fabled food-of-love aphrodisiac to many, and a must-to-avoid mollusk to others. A naturally nurturing jewel-box to hunters of precious pearls, and mere hapless-prey packaging to the otter, The Walrus and The Carpenter.

But whether you shuck ’em or shun ’em, there’s no doubting that the briny bivalve has a certain star-quality luster as the centerpiece of some increasingly popular post-Labor Day events — particularly when paired with the “Irish aphrodisiac” known as —Guinness. And here on the banks of the Navesink, the coming of autumn signals the oyster’s turn to shine as the featured attraction of the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival, the sixth annual edition of which returns to the White Street municipal parking lot Sunday. Read More »


Press release from Monmoth County Arts Council

8cb44e05-02fd-413a-903f-4acfa7b97e7dFor its annual Celebration of the Arts fundraiser, the Red Bank-based Monmouth County Arts Council celebrates the recently established MoCo Arts Corridor initiative — and honors a trio of dedicated individuals from around the greater Red Bank Green — in an event presented under the banner “The Arts Mean Business.”

Scheduled for Friday, October 23 at Edgewater Beach & Cabana Club in Sea Bright, the 7-10 pm occasion features a silent auction, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and buffet dinner, all enhanced by performances and exhibits spotlighting the work of several Monmouth County artists — and all dedicated to the ongoing support of such MCAC programs as the Teen Arts Festival, ArtHelps, and the Arts Education Awards.

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dog days 072215 1All Dogs Go to Hollywood  as Red Bank RiverCenter presents the latest of its canine-friendly Dog Days events Tuesday evening.

RB DOG DAYS 073013 6At a time of year when Hollywood separates its summer blockbusters from its disappointing box-office dogs, the Tinseltown-canine connection is being celebrated in style on the streets of Red Bank, as the latest in the summer series of Dog Days promotions returns on Tuesday evening.

Hosted once again by Red Bank RiverCenter and the Borough of Red Bank, the 6-to-9 p.m. event is presented under the theme All Dogs Go to Hollywood, with a strolling array of dog-focused vendors, pup-positive downtown businesses and informational displays given a red-carpet twist: guest-star canines (and their human personal assistants) are invited to dress up and walk that carpet for a free photo op worthy of a big-time movie premiere, fun props included.

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rb sidewalk sale 3 072713Boxed bargains, folding-table finds and street-rack “steals” abound as the Sidewalk Sales returns to Red Bank this weekend for the 61st year.

rb sidewalk sale 8 072713It was a “diamond anniversary” event for which the Red Bank business community did it up grand – complete with a “pop-up museum” of historical memorabilia and a special “1950s fun” edition of the weekly StreetLife musical mashup. But how does “a cool little town” follow up a milestone like 2014’s 60th annual session of summertime Sidewalk Sale?

By forging ahead with the 61st annual Red Bank Sidewalk Sale, of course. Beginning today and running through late Sunday afternoon, one of the most firmly established community traditions enters its seventh decade as an all-welcome draw in those often lazy-hazy days of summer – not to mention a much-appreciated cornerstone of continuity, in an ever-evolving town that often transitions at a brisker clip than a lot of longtime locals can process.

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Motor CityLayonne Holmes (right) and the Motor City Revue roar into Sandy Hook as the up-next act in the summer beach concert series. Weather permitting, Tuesday night marks the twice-scheduled debut of Red Bank’s Dog Days of Summer.

rb dogs 061714 6[UPDATE, July 20, 2 p.m. Once again, the Dog Days event is being postponed, this time because of high temperatures, RiverCenter announced. The event is tentatively scheduled to be held Wednesday, July 22, at 6 p.m.]

Gripe all you will about summer traffic, summer crowds, summer expenses: the season for warm-weather diversion can seem especially fleeting when viewed through the frosted panes of our extended polar-vortex winters. And between Tuesday evening and Thursday afternoon, we’ve got a whole range of excuses for getting out of the house, beginning with the latest in the 2015 series of Red Bank Dog Days of Summer .

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BoondocksBoondocks Fishery at Marine Park is just one of nearly 30 stops on and off the beaten path as the Food and Wine Walk events return for a new season. (Photo by Rachel Weston. Click to enlarge)

Calling all free-range foodies: the season for strolling smorgasbording and open-air culinary exploring is just now heating up, with the appearance of the first in 2015’s schedule of Red Bank Food and Wine Walks.


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081914 rbdogs4Canine visitors and their human handlers are invited to paws and relax when Red Bank Dog Days return for a new season Tuesday evening.

061714 dogs12[UPDATE: This event has been postponed to June 23 because of adverse weather forecasts.]

The interval known as the “dog days of summer” doesn’t occur until early July — and in fact, summer itself doesn’t officially begin until June 21. But in Red Bank, pet pooches and human handlers can get a leg up on the competition during the first in a new season of Dog Day evenings on Tuesday, June 16.

Presented by Red Bank RiverCenter and the borough of Red Bank on the third Tuesday of each summer month, the series takes place on Monmouth Street, which will be partially closed to vehicular traffic between the hours of 6 to 9 p.m.

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the wag 062114The Wag is among the musical acts taking to the sidewalks and storefronts of Red Bank’s business district as the annual Street Life series returns on Saturday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Street Life vertIt represents a shuffle mix that ranges from Americana to ethnic, from Sweet Adeline harmonies to a friendly bit of harmonic dissonance. And when the homegrown phenomenon known as Red Bank StreetLife returns to the borough’s sidewalks and storefronts for a new season of summer evenings starting Saturday, it will also represent a literal shuffle, as self-guided musicphiles stroll or roll at their pleasure in search of locally sourced, Jersey-fresh sights and sounds.

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RBIFF 042714 32 The Weeklings, featuring Glen Burtnik and Bob Burger, below, are among the musical acts adding savour to the Sunday’s Red Bank International Flavour Festival on White Street. (Click to enlarge)

weeklingsIt’s positioned as a family-friendly, fresh-air celebration of international food, music, wine and beer — and it’s undeniably one of the more popular and successful seasonal attractions to pitch its tent in Red Bank within recent years.

Back for a fourth annual world tour in the White Street municipal parking lot, the Red Bank International Flavour Festival returns this Sunday for an afternoon/ evening session that mixes many of the best-liked attributes of the old-time Red Bank Food Festivals and the latter-day Oysterfests.

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mayorsThe three living former mayors of Red Bank — Benedict Nicosia, Michael Arnone and Ed McKenna — join Mayor Pasquale Menna as guests of honor at the first annual Mayor’s Charity Ball, going on May 1st.

Press release from Red Bank Mayor’s Ball Committee

Mayor Pat Menna is honoring three of his predecessors — and inviting the community — to the first annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball, scheduled for May 1st at The Oyster Point Hotel.

“Our committee is planning a great event and a fun evening, celebrating all things Red Bank,” noted the mayor.  “We are fortunate to have three former mayors — Judge Benedict Nicosia, Assemblyman Michael Arnone and Mayor Edward McKenna — still here in the area, and we will be honoring them for their public service.”

Other honorees include Red Bank RiverCenter, which will receive the Outstanding Community Service Award; the Two River Theater, the Cultural and Arts Award; Gerry Eisner, the Historical Legacy Award; Downtown Investors, the Urban Development Award; and Seals Eastern, the Manufacturing and Technology Award.

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112914 horseride3112914 horserideHorse-drawn-carriage rides returned for the Christmas season in downtown Red Bank last Saturday as excited children waited to greet the horse himself, who goes by the name of Prince.

Prince will be out every Saturday through December 20, from noon to 3 p.m., buoyed along his route by Holiday Harmonies, a mix of traditional carolers, choirs, brass bands, rock, folk, jazz & blues musicians presented by Red Bank RiverCenter. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

112914 horseride2



Tim and tree lighting with Karen CTim McLoone keynotes the season of lights in downtown Red Bank with the traditional Holiday Express outdoor concert on Black Friday.

tim-grinch-band-rblightingCharlie Brown, Ralphie, Rudolph – not a one ever concerned himself with the concept of “Black Friday” in their day. And when Red Bank celebrates its annual Holiday Express concert and Town Lighting this Friday night, it will do so with a curious new mission: to take back the purity, and the sanctity, of Black Friday.

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oysterfest-2010-1The Guinness Oysterfest returnS to downtown Red Bank Sunday for an afternoon of sunshine, food, music and eary-fall good spirits.

rb oysterfest 2 092312Although there are those who choose to shun it rather than shuck it, there’s no denying that the oyster has long been celebrated for its aphrodisiac properties. And when the bivalve’s paired with the brackish brew that’s been called “the Irish aphrodisiac” – —Guinness – well, what’s not to love?

Whether you’re a fishy aficionado or strictly landlubber’s menu, there’s much to sink your teeth into this Sunday, when the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival returns to the White Street municipal parking for for a fifth annual edition. Presented by Red Bank RiverCenter and produced by RUEevents, it’s a seven-hour fleadh of food, music and stout that benefits a pair a pair of regional cancer treatment nonprofits — the Jane H. Booker Cancer Center at  Riverview Medical Center, and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ — in addition to helping fund the ongoing events and programs of the RiverCenter partnership.

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DancingNathanNathan shakin’: the fur-challenged but fancy-moving internet sensation Dancing Nathan is the special guest attraction at the final Red Bank Dog Days event of the summer, this Tuesday.

Capping a successful season (well, maybe with one wet-dog rainout) of Dog Day evenings, Red Bank RiverCenter and the Borough of Red Bank close out the series of monthly events with a special Doggie Carnival on Tuesday, August 19 from 6 to 9 pm — and a special celebrity guest star.

It’s Dancing Nathan, the bone-afide internet sensation who danced his way into America’s hearts with his signature moves to “Gangnam Style” in 2013.

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rb-sidewalk-sale-10-072713It’s the 60th annual edition of a local  favorite – and the organizers of the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale have a special stroll down memory lane built in to this year’s three-day event. 

rb sidewalk sale 8 072713While Red Bank remains an ever-evolving entity — sometimes at a brisker clip than a lot of longtime locals are prepared to digest — one summertime signifier of community life has been soldiering on, uninterrupted, for a frankly amazing 60 years. And in 2014, the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale marks its diamond anniversary  with a three-day thriftarama that takes a look back at some of what’s made this town so great and unique.

Think about it: back in 1955, President Ike was dispatching the first U.S. advisors into an obscure place called Vietnam. The Brooklyn Dodgers were gearing up to finally make “next year” a here-and-now reality. School-age kids were promised trips to that new Disneyland place, if they’d just hold still for the equally new polio vaccine. Folks from nearby communities such as New Shrewsbury flocked to the Carlton Theatre to see James Dean light up the screen in East of Eden. And the Red Bank Register reported that the town fathers were planning a study of the ongoing downtown parking issues (let’s hear one for continuity).

Those decades of borough history won’t be trampled underfoot, as scores of shoppers take to the sidewalks of Broad, Monmouth, Front and White streets in search of figurative “diamonds” — that bargain in a box, that folding-table find, that street-rack steal. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Red Bank Rivercenter celebrates the occasion with a “trip down memory lane” — and a rolling out of the welcome mat for some exciting new additions to the Sidewalk Sale scene.

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061914 RB dining al frescoNearly 30 Red Bank restaurants, shops and eateries — including  the Front St. Trattoria, above— will participate in a new summer schedule of Food and Wine Walk events, set to launch this Sunday afternoon. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Between the weekend barbecues, the riverside food fests and the many open-air opportunities for grabbing a bite, it can be a bit difficult to digest all the options available to the free-ranging foodie here in the good old summertime.

If Red Bank Rivercenter and Red Bank Flavour have their way, however, we’ll all just be expected to Walk It Off  — and to let our legs and wheels carry us about the borough’s sidewalks and storefronts, for the first in a new monthly round of Food and Wine Walk events.

A self-guided tasting tour that takes in more than two dozen restaurants, specialty shops, taverns and eateries, the inaugural walk runs from 2 to 6 pm this Sunday, with a strolling smorgasbord of wares and fare, from fine wines and eclectic desserts to tapas, sushi and more.

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