RED BANK: RIVERFEST UNPLUGGED, AGAIN

The event, which often drew tens of thousands of visitors to Marine Park, was revived in 2011 after a 10-year absence. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Scratch another big outdoor event from the calendar: this year’s Red Bank Riverfest is off.

The cancellation followed a dispute over money, with the borough claiming it had been shorted last year, and an event organizer saying the town had “nickeled and dimed” the food-and-music festival until it was no longer viable.

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RED BANK: RIVERFEST ROCKS THE RIVERSIDE

Thousands of festivalgoers filled Red Bank’s Marine Park over the weekend for three days of food and music at Riverfest 2014. (Photos by Dan Natale and Trish Russoniello. Mouseover to pause.)

RED BANK: IT’S ON DOWN BY THE RIVER

rivfest 1 053114It’s a gorgeous day down at Marine Park in Red Bank, where the first full day of Riverfest is shifting into gear. Put on your sauntering footwear and come on down…(Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

WEEKEND: EAT, DRINK, LISTEN, REPEAT

Don’t even bother trying to curb your appetite at Red Bank Riverfest, which runs through Sunday in Marine Park. Details in the poster below. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, May 31:

RED BANK: Come sample the savory and sweet flavors at Riverfest, the annual three-day music and food festival in Marine Park. Stroll the “artisan’s alley” for handmade items and artwork, cruise the Navesink River, or dance your butt off in front of the waterfront stage to the likes of Brian Kirk & The Jirks, Woodfish, the Moroccan Sheepherders and the Jazz Lobsters. Free entry; no pets allowed.

MIDDLETOWNThe Middletown Arts Center hosts a Luau Party for kids ages 5 and older, offering crafts, limbo contests and games. Pizza and snacks will be provided. The luau runs from 6 to 9 p.m. 36 Church Street.

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RED BANK: RIVERFEST TO HEAT UP WEEKEND

Scenes from the 2012 edition of Red Bank Riverfest, which returns to Marine Park for a thre-night run starting Friday. (Click to enlarge)

Three days of heat and eats await visitors to Red Bank this weekend.

For the third consecutive year, after a decade-long layover, Riverfest returns to the banks of the Navesink River in Marine Park Friday night for a stay that extends into Sunday night.

And what this event be without a touch of sultry-bordering-on-threatening weather?

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SCENES FROM THE FOOD FEST

Before it was buffetted by wind and rain Sunday, Riverfest 2012 in Red Bank’s Marine Park had a pretty good three-day run. Some scenes from Friday night and Saturday afternoon, by redbankgreen.

FOOD, MUSIC, SUMMER NIGHT ON THE RIVER…

Scenes from the opening night of the three-day Riverfest food and music festival in Red Bank’s Marine Park Friday. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

The National Weather Service forecast for days two and three is encouraging:

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 74. West wind between 11 and 14 mph.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 58. West wind between 6 and 13 mph.

Sunday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. West wind between 11 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

BUSKING IN THE GLORY OF STREET LIFE

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.

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TAKING IT TO THE RIVER FOR THREE-DAY FEST

A weekend’s serving of cheek-bulging chow and hip-shaking music take up residence in Red Bank’s Marine Park this weekend. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge.)

By TOM CHESEK

It was the subject of a behind-the-scenes brouhaha that rivaled the most spirited Battle of the Bands: a “take back the weekend” campaign that pitted some of the mainstays of the Red Bank business community against an established event that many locals believed had both outgrown and turned its back on its host community.

When the calendar flipped to the first weekend in June, 2011, however, the consensus was that Riverfest was a refreshing breath of sweet summertime air off the Navesink — a successful revival of a seasonal signature that Lynda Rose, president of the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, calls “a perfect fit for the town, the businesses and anyone who enjoys being in Red Bank.”

Beginning Friday and continuing into Sunday evening, Riverfest returns to the sloping lawns and waterfront walkways of Marine Park with a three-day, rain-or-shine, strolling smorgasbord of culinary creations, “local organic” music and family-friendly activities.

Billed as “New Jersey’s Largest Food and Music Festival with Free Admission,” it’s both a throwback to an earlier small-town vision of Red Bank, and a summer-season keynote to a new chapter in the borough’s ever-evolving history.

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PADDLE DAY MAKES A RETURN TO THE RIVER

paddle-day-10A beginner gets acclimated with the water at last year’s inaugural Paddle the Navesink Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

Red Bank has its share of river-themed events. There’s Riverfest in June, a three-day bonanza of food and entertainment. There’s Kaboom Fireworks on the Navesink, one the nation’s largest pyrotechnics shows. Rowing and sailing regattas dot the calendar three seasons of the year, and there’s even the occasional iceboat race.

But only Paddle the Navesink Day encourages visitors who have no affiliation with boating clubs to actually get out onto, and into, our beautiful Navesink River in myriad ways, to satisfy myriad curiosities.

“Many people know about Red Bank, the shopping and dining, but they know very little about the water,” said Linda Ensor, who as part of Navesink River Rowing Club helps organize Paddle Day. “The Navesink River is really a gem, and it’s a very, very diverse body of water.”

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CHOWDOWN BY THE RIVER

After a decade on the shelf, Red Bank’s RiverFest returned to Marine Park this weekend with a boatload of people — literally — and food and music. Above, some shots from the action Saturday, snapped by Dustin Racioppi.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

RIVERFEST IS BACK AND IN DEMAND

gelato-cartVincenzo Sorriso of Sicilia Café inspects his new gelato cart, which will make its debut at RiverFest this weekend. (Click to enlarge)

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By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s unlikely that Riverfest will struggle to reintroduce itself with Red Bank after a decade-long layoff from the banks of the Navesink.

In fact, organizers are practically beating back spot-seeking vendors who want to get in on the action, which starts Friday.

“My phone is ringing off the hook right now with people who want to get in right now,” said Lynda Rose, president of the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, one of the festival’s organizers. “Next year, they’re going to have to take a number.”

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JAZZ & BLUES FEST BUSTS ITSELF IN THREE

stage2The 2009 edition of the festival was the last at Red Bank’s Marine Park, and there are no signs of a return. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival, once a summer staple in Red Bank that was unceremoniously scratched off the calendar and has since been on a wayward journey for a permanent home, is taking the show on the road this year.

After a stint on the pavement at Monmouth Park, the festival’s foundation announced it’s taking a totally different direction — three, actually — making one-day stops over three months in as many towns.

“It is what it is right now,” festival organizer Dennis Eschbach told redbankgreen. “We’re going in a different direction this year.”

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JAZZ & BLUES: WE DIDN’T ‘HIJACK’ FOOD FEST

sausageFood vendors at the 2009 edition of the Jazz & Blues Festival in Marine Park. (Click to enlarge)

Stung by the way it says it has been characterized recently, the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation has taken to the media to trumpet its virtues and push back against claims that it “hijacked” an event that began as a showcase for Red Bank restaurants.

In the wake of a decision last month by borough restaurateurs and local officials to revive Riverfest, the predecessor event to the former Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival, foundation officials say in a letter distributed to news outlets that they didn’t know they were in a conflict until they read claims that Riverfest proponents had “won” the battle between the two.

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FOOD FEST GETS DIBS OVER JAZZ & BLUES FEST

img_63997272A food vendor hawks his wares at the 2009 edition of the Jazz & Blues Fest. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After a long absence, Riverfest will return to Red Bank’s Marine Park in 2011.

But securing the date required backers to first elbow aside Riverfest’s successor: the ersatz Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival.

On a night when the Red Bank Council was courted like the prettiest girl in class, the food-heavy fest won a sudden competition to take over the waterfront park the coveted first weekend in June.

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FOOD FESTIVAL MAY RETURN TO MARINE PARK

marine-park1Marine Park will play host to some sort of summer event next year, officials say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Business owners and Red Bank officials are in talks to bring back large-scale summer entertainment to Marine Park, the site of a nearly completed sprucing-up job that drove out the Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival for this year’s edition, redbankgreen has learned.

At the top of the wish list: reviving the music expo’s predecessor, a food-oriented event called Riverfest, says George Lyristis, owner of The Bistro at Red Bank.

“We’re in the talking phase,” Lyristis said. “It’s my intention to do anything to make it local again.”

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