More than 20 local food purveyors will be present when the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest commandeers the White Street municipal parking lot this Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
While the recent cancellation of Riverfest has left a hole in Red Bank’s yearly segue into summer, fans of strolling smorgasbords and top-down tunes needn’t wait too long to get their festival fix — as this Sunday, the White Street municipal parking lot will be the scene for the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest.
It’s just about the last of the big holiday-themed entertainment events to take the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank each December — a frankly awesome rock and roll extravaganza that plants a glittering star atop the tree at an eleventh hour when various Scrooges, Nutcrackers and vocal choirs have scurried off to their last-minute shopping excursions.
Ask Bobby Bandiera and he’ll probably tell you that a dose of charitable spirit is more important than ever in the final countdown to Christmas and Hanukkah — and that the day-to-day survival of our neediest neighbors doesn’t take a holiday break when the rest of the community settles into its family traditions.
Press release from Christian Brothers Academy
On Thursday, December 15, the McKay Gym at Christian Brothers Academy was once again transformed into a rocking holiday event hall, as part of Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express Christmas Party.
“This is the best day of the year,” said Tim Sewnig, Director of CBA’s Campus Ministry, of the event held each year to help young adults with special needs get in the Christmas spirit. The Academy hosts several holiday season fundraisers each year — a winter coat drive, collection for children with pediatric cancer, and Thanksgiving food drive to name a few — but this event has a special place amongst them.
Tim McLoone (seen presiding over the annual Town Lighting concert in downtown Red Bank) conducts the Holiday Express band back into station stop Basie for a pair of public-welcome shows on December 19 and 20 — with an all-aboard for volunteer “warehouse elves” at the nonprofit’s Tinton Falls facility.
VIP-level attendees at many Count Basie Theatre events have never been averse to paying as much as several hundred dollars over base ticket price, to enjoy such perks as premium seating, autographed tour souvenirs, and personal meet-and-greet opportunities with the featured attractions. But as far as Tim McLoone and Holiday Express are concerned, there are some ultra-exclusive events that remain off limits at any price.
It isn’t because you’re not cool enough, connected enough, or cash-money enough to score tickets. It’s just that admission to those performances is available to you only if you’re one of the more than 15,000 residents of regional homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, children’s wards and other places that form the heart of the Holiday Express itinerary — places whose residents are often without any family or friends, and whose sole ray of light is that annual visit by the big jinglebell juggernaut of a band.
Fortunately for the rest of us, the Express regularly detours from its tight timetable at this time each year, to play a double-header of fundraiser shows at station stop Basie; a tradition that continues this coming Monday and Tuesday, December 19 and 20.
For the 24th straight year, the feel-jolly sounds of Holiday Express served as the soundtrack to a Town Lighting ceremony that drew thousands of visitors to downtown Red Bank Friday night. Were you among those who braved the drizzle for the dazzle? Check out our photos to see who you might recognize. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Tim McLoone, at left above, and the Holiday Express band get some help kicking off another silver-bells season on the sidewalks of Red Bank at Friday night’s annual Town Lighting concert. Jackie Evancho (below) brings a program of holiday songs and hits to the Count Basie stage. (Photo above by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
If it’s accomplished nothing else during its quarter century of continuous service, Red Bank’s annual Town Lighting ceremony has successfully wrested the idea of “Black Friday” from visions of crushing chaos at the mall to one of sing-along harmony in a walkable-wonderland setting of merry commerce and activity.
When the lights are ceremoniously lit in downtown Red Bank for the 24th consecutive year this Friday evening, it will come not a moment too soon for an extended community that really does need a little Christmas, right this very minute. And summoned once more into service like a jinglebell-jukebox Justice League will be Holiday Express, the big traveling winter wall of sound whose founder and skipper Tim McLoone has helped sound the keynote and flip the switch on a generation’s worth of festive occasions in the heart of Red Bank’s downtown diorama.
The Holiday Express band performs at one of its annual Town Lighting public concerts in downtown Red Bank.The humanitarian organization behind the big traveling band is putting out the call for volunteer “warehouse elves” at their Tinton Falls facility.
Every year for the past several decades, Holiday Express founder and co-frontman Tim McLoone leads his big traveling band in a special keynote to the most festive of seasons, as the assembled musicians and singers preside over Red Bank’s annual Town Lighting ceremony with a free open-air, public-welcome concert.
The “Black Friday” tradition is merely one of the more visible manifestations of the musical humanitarian organization that performs dozens of concerts at places that exist well below most people’s radar — the nursing homes, rehab centers, homeless shelters, psychiatric facilities and other locales whose audiences are made up of what McLoone calls the “adult orphans” among us.
While the veteran musician, businessman and entrepreneur observes that the Holiday Express orchestra is the aspect of the organization that “makes the most noise,” he’s quick to point out that the energizing engine is backed up by a formidable freight-train of volunteer support personnel, drivers, techies, and donation/gift processing workers at the nonprofit’s Tinton Falls warehouse facility (938 Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls). And, effective immediately, the Express is putting out a call for just such a crew of “warehouse elves” — a call that includes, for the first time, an online sign-up.
The roofed deck at McLoone’s Rum Runner. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
On a clear day, Tim McLoone‘s newly rebuilt Rum Runner restaurant in Sea Bright offers bird’s-eye views south along the Shrewsbury River past the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge, north toward Sandy Hook Bay, and to the east, beach clubs, interspersed with peeks of the Atlantic Ocean.
Stunning eye-candy aside, PieHole finds another reason to appreciate this back-from-the dead Sandy survivor.
On Monday, August 29, the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHA) will present its Annual Golf Classic and Cocktail Party, as part of MHA’s continued efforts to raise awareness and necessary funds for the free mental health services that MHA offers to members of the military and all families in Monmouth County.
Hosted at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown, the event highlights MHA’s mission of promoting mental health and wellness and improving the care and treatment of persons affected by mental illness. This mission is accomplished through MHA’s strength-based innovated program, education, advocacy community partnerships, and the shaping of public policy.
A spectacular fireworks show closed out a beautiful summer day of food, friends and dancing in the infield in Little Silver as the town’s residents gathered at the fields behind borough hall for Little Silver Day Saturday.
redbankgreen grabbed these photos of the merriment. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Others towns on the Greater Red Bank Green have their official celebrations of self — most notably the annual Fair Haven Day that’s now an annual staple. But on Saturday, it’s the Borough of Little Silver’s turn to shine, as the first-ever Little Silver Day celebration prepares to fill a summer afternoon and evening with music, food, fun, games, fireworks and reaffirmation of community.
Presented by the nonprofit Little Silver Charitable Foundation and hosted at the borough’s center-of-town recreational field (behind borough hall and adjacent to Markham Place School), the inaugural event will be free for Little Silver residents, with nominal fees charged for food and beverages. It’s all happening from 3 to 10 p.m., with a scheduled rain date of Sunday, June 26.
The bar in a glass-walled room one patron called “the aquarium” offers panoramic views of the Shrewsbury River. Below right, restaurant principal Tim McLoone with an opening-night guest. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Three and a half years after the original was damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Sandy, McLoone’s Rum Runner reopened Tuesday night in the form of dazzling behemoth of a “jewel box” beside the Shrewsbury River in Sea Bright.
Above the river, actually. Unlike its modest predecessor, which sat barely above high-tide, the new one is elevated to keep all but the lowest part of a stairwell dry even during the worst storm surge, and provide parking underneath at other times, said its designers.
In what has become an annual tradition at Christian Brothers Academy, over 40 students from CBA and Trinity Hall helped spread some holiday cheer on Thursday, December 17 during the annual Holiday Express Christmas Party. Students and faculty joined Tim McLoone (at keyboard) and the bandmembers and support team of Holiday Express for a day of Christmas fun and dancing, all to help adults with special needs and disabilities enjoy this special time of year. (More photos after the story break)
Tim McLoone and Holiday Express (above) make their annual fundraising whistle-stop on the Count Basie stage this Thursday, followed on Friday by the “Souled Out” (but still very much on sale) return of Christmas Baby Darlene Love (below).
No matter how many times Darlene Love appeared on David Letterman’s show to deliver her soaring signature “Christmas (Baby please come home),” it somehow stayed fresh across four decades, five presidential administrations and countless hairstyles.
Likewise, Holiday Express manages to keep it fresh despite spending most of the year in a crisper, only to be taken out for a blizzard of seasonal performances.
And somehow, the Count Basie Theatre does it up in style every December with crowd-pleasing sets by both acts, which roll into Red Bank in the nights ahead.
Read on for details…
Tim McLoone (below) and Holiday Express sound the keynote for another silver-bells season on the sidewalks of Red Bank with a free concert and Town Lighting ceremony Friday night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
He’s the leader of the band and founder of the winter-wonderland wall of sound known as Holiday Express. As such, Tim McLoone is also the conductor of a festive freight-train that each year carries its message of community and caring to the places that almost no one wants to think about — not even during the holidays.
And every Black Friday evening, McLoone is a conductor of electricity — when he and the big band sound the keynote and flip the switch on a season of sights and Santa-fied activities that make Red Bank the area’s undisputed Capital of Christmastime.
Grab those beach chairs from the garage and shine up your best dancing flip flops: the season of free outdoor summer concerts is upon us, with the local action keynoted as always by the Sandy Hook Beach Concert Series.
Presented at 6 pm each Wednesday by the Sandy Hook Foundation at Beach Area E, the long-running slate of all-ages, all-welcome celebrations comes equipped with sandy seating, natural A/C and complimentary sunsets. It all begins anew on Wednesday with a season starter starring Brian Kirk and the Jirks.
The first-ever Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball brought together three ex-mayors, the current one and some 250 of their friends at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Among those in attendance: former Councilwoman Sharon Lee and restaurateur Victor Kuo, above, and Pastor John Lock, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right.
redbankgreen grabbed dozens of photos during the cocktail hour overlooking our beautiful Navesink River. Click the “read more” to see who else was there. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
The Girls Winter Track Team from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School has reigned victorious, earning the school’s first State Group II State Relay Championship for Winter Track and scoring its fourth consecutive Central Jersey Group II Sectional Title.
The historic State Group II Relay Championship was the result of a first-place finish at the State Relays in January, where 24 teams competed and RFH bested Holmdel by three points. RFH medaled in five of six races, with senior Janie DeVito competing in three of those events. Senior Hannah Anderson ran two of the races as did junior Morgan Steinhacker, who clinched the 4 X 400 relay with her outstanding anchor leg.
At the State Sectional Championship on February 8, the RFH girls earned their fourth straight Central Jersey Group II title.
The organizers of the Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade have announced that this year’s third annual march will honor the memory of Michael Larkin, president of the parade’s Board of Trustees and an instrumental figure in the founding of the community event, scheduled to proceed on Sunday, March 8.
A resident of Sea Bright, and President of Michael J. Larkin Associates, a global fundraising and event consulting company, Larkin passed away in late December, while preparations were being made for the first in a round of fundraiser events keyed to this year’s parade — a schedule that kicks off on January 17 with a now-traditional party at Murphy’s Tavern in Rumson.
A co-founder of the the Sandy Hook Foundation and producer of the first three New Jersey Marathons, Larkin coordinated events for national non-profit organizations in the United States, the UK and Bermuda. In addition to the late parade president, the 2015 event will honor a pair of local charities — Jason’s Dreams for Kids, an organization that fulfills the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses through a variety of fundraising events, and Lincroft-based Special People United to Ride (SPUR), a program that brings both riding skills and life skills to young people through therapeutic equestrian sessions with PATH Certified instructors.
Clockwise from top left: Jinglebell fundraiser concerts featuring Tim McLoone’s Holiday Express (December 18), Brian Kirk and the Jirks (December 20), Darlene Love (December 21) and Bobby Bandiera (December 22) provide the driving soundtrack to the holiday homestretch in the nights ahead.
The countdown to Christmas 2015 represents anything but a wind-down at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, where a fast-moving flurry of high-profile benefit concerts promises to keep the place buzzing like Santa’s workshop-slash-fulfillment center during the holiday homestretch.
From the most big-hearted of local music mainstays, to the vintage hitmakers whose records landed on many a Boomer-era wish list — and on into the next generation of Shore scene stalwarts — the Basie boards will resound with a Wall of seasonal Sound, every note of it dedicated to a great cause and an all-’round generosity of spirit.
Since 1993, Holiday Express has relied on more than 1,500 volunteers and only four full-time paid employees to deliver music, food, gifts, and financial support to those with the greatest need for the gift of human kindness during the Holiday season and throughout the year. To help make it all possible, the non-profit organization has announced the hiring of Lorrie Klaric as the new Executive Director.
Klaric, who starts immediately, will be replacing Donald Pignataro who announced his retirement in the fall and has served successfully as the organization’s Executive Director since 2006. Pignataro will remain as the Executive Director until the end of the year to allow for a smooth transition of leadership.
Starting the well-attended street party off with favorites “All Alone on Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman,” Holiday Express got the masses singing and moving to the beat for the annual night-after-Thanksgiving town light-up. Red Bank’s volunteer fire department handed out cups of hot chocolate to help defrost frozen fingers while festive lights were turned on to brighten the streets and sidewalks.
Were you one of the bundled up in the crowd? Click below to see who else showed up for the party.
Above, Tuba Christmas toots exclusively at Middletown Arts Center on the evening of December 7 — while below, Santa (seen in a past appearance at Red Bank’s West Side Tree Lighting ceremony) will be making the scene all over the Green in weeks to come.
The first official sightings are expected to start filtering in tonight, when the Santa Express rolls out of station stop Little Silver on its way to Red Bank — but even if you miss Santa and Mrs. Claus at the annual Holiday Express Concert and Town Lighting ceremony, there are numerous other opportunities for an audience with The Big Red One in and around the greater Green, beginning as early as Saturday afternoon, November 29.
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.