Charlie 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.
Although 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.
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.
While 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.
Nearly 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.
Budding star Maggie Rose is the headline attraction for the Rockin’ Country Festival that commandeers Marine Park for two days and evenings of family-friendly activities, foodstuffs and freewheelin’ sounds this Saturday and Sunday.
The folks at Red Bank Rivercenter haven’t exactly “rued the day” they first joined forces with special-events promoter Ruthanne Harrison, producer-proprietor of Asbury Park-based Really Unbelievable Events. From the annual Guinness Oyster Festival to the International Flavour Fest, the RUE brand has been attached to some of the best-received mashups of local/ regional music and cuisine in the borough’s long history of destination attractions. This Saturday and Sunday, they’ll be doing it all with a pronounced twang, as the first-ever Red Bank Rockin’ Country and Food Festival takes over the waterfront walkways and natural amphitheater of Marine Park.
Running between noon and 9 pm on June 28, and from noon to 7 pm on June 29, the weekender promises the participation of 20 Red Bank restaurants (some featuring special BBQ and country-picnic favorites for the occasion) — along with a sonic smorgasbord that offers up homegrown and national acts ranging from mainstream Nashville to Shore-based “seagrass” and tattooed hipster Americana. Toplining the out-of-town entertainers is Margaret Durante, a/k/a Maggie Rose, a Maryland-born vocalist (and former auxiliary member of regional Boss tributeers The B Street Band) whose star has been on the ascendant through a string of solo recordings that have included “I Ain’t Your Mama,” “Better,” and the Comcast SportsNet football anthem “Get Ya Game On.” She’ll be performing the sweet-spot Saturday night set at 7:15 pm — part of a duelling-stages diptych of live music, for which the deep-fried schedule details are available right here.
Sure, other towns have staked a claim to being that quasi-mystical place Where Music Lives — but when Red Bank StreetLife continues its Saturday evening schedule on June 14, it will transform the Borough of Basie into that place where Music greets visitors who arrive by rail; where Music provides an eclectic soundtrack to shopping and dining; and where Music gets mobile, on the streets of the downtown and West Side business districts.
Having kicked off its 14th season of busking-after-dusk on June 7, StreetLife runs its weather-permitting slate — a shuffle mix that ranges from Americana to ethnic, and from Sweet Adeline harmonies to a friendly bit of harmonic dissonance — every Saturday between 6 and 9 pm, through August 30. Presented by Red Bank Rivercenter, it all happens in a series of outdoor encounters that span Broad Street to Bridge Avenue. You might even (literally) stumble across the next big thing — and you can take it around the bend to learn more about this Saturnight’s lineup.
Beatle Bones and Smokin’ Stones: Glen Burtnik’s Beatles Tribute and Marc Ribler’s Rolling Stones Tribute (above) join the conceptual coverband Mashwork Orange (below) among the musical headliners adding savour to the International Flavour Festival, Sunday on White Street.
Combining many of the best-liked attributes of the old Red Bank Food Festivals and the latter-day Oysterfests, the Red Bank International Flavour Festival returns for a third annual world tour in the White Street municipal parking lot this Sunday, April 27. A fundraiser for borough-based entities Red Bank RiverCenter, Monmouth Day Care Center, and Parker Family Health Center, the happening from promoter RUE Events teams the culinary kung fu of some 25 Red Bank restaurants and food purveyors (take it here for a rundown) with a strolling smorgasbord of vendors that include beer and wine for purchase. Adding sonic spice to the affair is the enhanced musical menu of headline-worthy acts on two stages; a shuffle-mix that spans showband salsa (Ray Rodriguez and Swing Sabroso), Scottish marches (Atlantic Watch Pipes and Drums), Shore partyband perennials (Kirk and the Jirks, The Nerds), and the gotta-see-it-to-believe-it conceptual coverband Kubrickery of Mashwork Orange. The Beatles and The Stones are duly represented as well — as channeled by music-biz masters and sought after songwriter/ session cats Glen Burtnik (Beatlemania, Styx), Bob Burger and Marc Ribler.
Michael Warmington of Red Bank RiverCenter joins a team of Barbizon tour guides in welcoming guests to a past edition of the Red Bank Wedding Walk, which returns to town this Sunday. Wanda Sykes (below) brings her standup skills back to the Basie Friday night.
RED BANK: When the Red Bank Wedding Walk returns to the blushing banks of the Navesink for its latest edition this Sunday, it’ll be a bigger/better-than-ever affair with an historic edge: it’s “encouraging same-sex couples to join us this year and explore all that Red Bank has to offer for the perfect wedding,” according to organizers at Red Bank RiverCenter.
Taking place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., the 2014 event sounds a call to “prospective brides, grooms, partners, their families and friends” to key into the borough’s “fun and funky vibe” as they visit over 40 wedding-related businesses — florists, gown and accessories retailers, bridesmaid and guest attire boutiques, photographers, wedding planners and designers, jewelers, salons and banquet facilities — many of which will be offering promotions, light refreshments and special amenities.
Leave the quarters in your pocket — and don’t lose precious shopping seconds double-checking street-space numbers, or squinting at kiosk display screens. Red Bank RiverCenter has announced that parking in municipal lots and metered streets in the downtown business district will once again be free of charge for the final two weeks of the shopping season, Thursday December 12 to Christmas Day, December 25.
“I’m thrilled that we can offer this great program to all visitors to the downtown,” said Red Bank RiverCenter Executive Director, James Scavone, in a statement thanking the Mayor and Council for approving what has become a welcome tradition in the borough. “Red Bank has so much to offer the holiday shopper, and we hope this gift gives shoppers yet another reason to shop local and shop Red Bank.”
The Christmas-capital crossroads of Broad and Canal streets is the place to be on Friday night, when Holiday Express presides over the annual concert and town lighting ceremony. (File photos. Click to enlarge)
By TOM CHESEK
As Tim McLoone tells it, he’s “just the keyboard player” in Holiday Express, the winter-wonderland Wall of Sound and Brilliant Light that he founded and has fronted since 1993. But if the big band is merely the part of the all-volunteer humanitarian train that “makes the most noise,” then there’s more to the Express seasonal journey than meets the eye or ear.
The 21st season of performances by Holiday Express — a schedule that takes two regional touring and support units to 60-plus stops in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — actually got underway more than two weeks ago. By December 24, the Express team will have logged some 10,000 miles visiting, playing for and distributing gifts to more than 15,000 people in area homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, children’s wards and other places well off the beaten path — places whose residents are often without any family or friends.
For most of us, however, the keynote to the holiday season on the greater Red Bank Green happens on the evening of Black Friday, when the Express makes a rare public-invited pitstop to the downtown nexus of Broad and Canal streets. It’s there, on November 29, that McLoone and company will be flipping the switch on a wintry interlude of special activities and events in the borough — a Town Lighting made all the more special, with the welcome return of some much-missed local traditions.
Who’s that behind those Tourism Grants? Left to right, Red Bank RiverCenter’s Jim Scavone and Amanda Lynn are pictured with Visitors Center director Margaret Mass at a May 2013 Red Bank Flavour event. (Click to enlarge)
Press release from Red Bank RiverCenter
Red Bank RiverCenter, in conjunction with the Red Bank Visitors Center, was awarded a $20,000 Cooperative Marketing Grant for 2014. The grant, available to organizations throughout the entire State of New Jersey, was applied for through the New Jersey Department of Tourism in June 2013, and will be used to expand Red Bank’s award-winning advertising campaign, “Escape for a Little While.”
The ad campaign will reach Washington, D.C., Connecticut, New York State, Pennsylvania, and Canada to encourage tourists and visitors to visit and stay in Red Bank, as well as the entire Jersey Shore.
By REBECCA DESFOSSE
Its time for the 19th annual Holiday Express concert and tree lighting, which includes a Santa parade, dancing and a display of lights all on tap starting at 5:30 p.m.
Clockwise from top left: A Cool Blues Duo, Jeff & Elaine, The Al Wright Unit and Peas & Carrots are among the acts taking it to the streets for Red Bank Street Life, the 2012 slate of which kicks off this Saturday evening.
It happens right about the time that Riverfest sounds the keynote to summertime in Red Bank. The sidewalks, storefronts and greens of the Shore’s favorite beach-free destination town ring out with great evening music every Saturday night in the weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Other towns may stake a claim to being Where Music Lives, but when Red Bank StreetLife returns on June 2, it will transform the Borough of Basie into that place where Music greets visitors who arrive by rail; where Music provides an eclectic soundtrack to shopping and dining; and where Music gets mobile on the streets of the downtown and West Side business districts.
Presented by Red Bank Rivercenter (with funding assistance from the Monmouth County Arts Council), Street Life offers up a shuffle-mix that ranges from acoustic Americana to ethnic, and from sweet-Adeline harmonies to a little bit of harmonic dissonance.
It’s panning out to be a busy spring for Red Bank Flavour.
The promotional partnership of borough-based bistros, bars, boites, bakeries, breakfast nooks, banquet halls and better take-out vendors heralded the turn of the season with the return of the Dine Downtown campaign in March. Then in April, the culinary alliance presented a special Broadway in Red Bank showcase that reinforced the notion of the town as dinner-and-show destination.
On Sunday, the Flavour pack joins with Red Bank RiverCenter and a host of local and corporate sponsors for an event with a broader, even global, reach: the first annual Red Bank International Flavour Festival.
By TOM CHESEK
It’s beginning to give way to Spring around the greater Green, and as our stocks of winter provisions dwindle down to the last few scraps of venison jerky and home-canned jars of okra, we emerge from our dwellings in search of our foodie fix.
Fortunately, March has traditionally sounded a call to action for local merchants of fine food and drink. This week, a go-getter group of restaurateurs around Red Bank and Rumson (as well as Middletown, Little Silver, Sea Bright and Shore points south) are roaring into gear with tonight’s return of the event known as A Taste of the Two Rivers, the continuation of Rumson Restaurant Month, and the kickoff to Red Bank Flavour Fixe.
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
There soon could be fewer cars circling downtown Red Bank in search of parking spots if the borough council gives the green light to a proposal by Red Bank RiverCenter Wednesday night.
The business promotion agency, in an effort to pull in more visitors, hopes to try valet parking on a trial basis.
“It’ll benefit anybody whose customer doesn’t want to drive around or park themselves,” RiverCenter Executive Director Nancy Adams said.
Motorists who covet the six spaces on Broad Street that will be dedicated to the valet service might have a different take, however.