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RED BANK: TREE LIGHTS UP CORNER & SPIRITS

red bank tree lighting
red bank tree lighting Santa Claus arrived by firetruck amid blaring horns and flashing lights at the annual Tree Lighting in Johnny Jazz Park in Red Bank Monday night.

The jolly one’s appearance capped an evening of music and amusements in the park, at the corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard. Check out redbankgreen‘s photos from the event below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from redbankgreen! (Photos by John T. Ward. GIF by Trish Russoniello.)

RED BANK: SNOW ADDS MAGIC TO LIGHT-UP

The first snowfall of the season added to the magical air of the Christmas tree lighting event at Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Gatta Park in Red Bank Saturday.

The event, organized by the borough Parks & Rec department, featured a visit by Santa Claus, who arrived by fire truck. Were you there? Check out redbankgreen‘s photos from the event below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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LITTLE SILVER: CAROLS FOR THE SEASON

ls christmas 120714 1ls christmas 120714 3Students from the Markham Place and Point Road Schools in Little Silver caroled through six holiday songs – including “Little Drummer Boy,” “African Noel” and “The Spirit of Hanukah” – as the community gathered for the annual Christmas tree lighting at borough hall Sunday. A dog named Jameson was dressed for the chilly occasion, too. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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FAIR HAVEN: WAITING FOR SANTA

120514 fhsanta13There was no shortage of pizza as kids awaited Santa, who arrived with an assist by the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Department. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120514 fhsanta12A drizzly night didn’t stop the hearty kids and adults of Fair Haven from coming out to greet Santa Claus Friday night.

Leaving his sleigh at the North Pole until Christmas Eve, jolly old St. Nick got a lift to the annual Christmas tree lighting from the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Department.

More pictures await, just around the corner…

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AROUND THE GREEN: WHERE’S SANTA?

TubaXmasAbove, 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.

Santa LindnerThe 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.

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RED BANK: LIGHT THERAPY FOR BLACK FRIDAY

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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RED BANK: LIGHTS ON

It was a night of jolly good cheer as Santa and Mrs. Claus and thousands of revelers in fun hats thronged downtown Red Bank for the annual town light-up and Holiday Express concert Friday night. The event began with the return of the traditional Santa Express train ride into town from Little Silver after a one-year interruption due to Hurricane Sandy. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: EXPRESS TO THE SEASON OF LIGHTS

crowd 112709The 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

stage 2 112709As 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.

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WINTER WONDERLAND ON BROAD STREET

It was a festive night of high spirits, bright lights and rides on big shoulders as Red Bank welcomed in the Christmas holiday season Friday night. (Photo by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

The turkey’s done, the present shopping has begun, and now the holiday season is officially in full swing in Red Bank. The annual Black Friday Santa Claus sighting, parade to Broad Street, downtown light-up and Holiday Express concert hit the town Friday night to the delight of thousands of area residents.

It was a night jam-packed with events. First, dancers from the Kathryn Barnett School of Dance showed off their fancy footwork to the tunes of holiday classics. Then, the Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch treated the gatherers to the sounds of bagpipes.

Next, it was time for what all the little ones were waiting for: the white-bearded man with the overstuffed bag.

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A ROCKIN’ START TO THE SEASON

Thousands of celebrants are expected to pack Broad Street in Red Bank for the Holiday Express concert and tree lighting Friday night. (Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

Just as your post-Thanksgiving torpor has begun to set in, the brand-new holiday season gets a spirited start in Red Bank with a celebration of sight and sound Friday night.

It’s 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.

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LIGHT IT UP, LET IT SNOW IN M’TOWN


Those of us old enough to remember the days when the official Middletown holiday “tree” was little more than a light-stringed pole (a precursor to Festivus?) across from the R&S store can rejoice now that the township is doing it up grand — and with tubas, to boot.

The third annual free holiday tree lighting event takes place Saturday evening at the Middletown Cultural & Arts Center, adjacent to the train station on Church Street.

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SEASON OPENER

It’s a full-on sight-and-sound spectacular: the annual night-after-Thanksgiving Santa Claus train ride into Red Bank followed by the parade to Broad Street, the downtown light-up and the Holiday Express concert.

For the 18th consecutive year, it was all once again best experienced perched on dad’s shoulders while wearing a funny hat.

redbankgreen photographer Peter Lindner was there. Were you?

‘TIS THE SEASON

As in years past, Tim McLoone’s rolling, feel-good music extravaganza, Holiday Express, kicked off the Christmas season in Red Bank Friday night with a concert for several thousand visitors who braved a post-Thanksgiving chill.

redbankgreen was all over Broad Street to capture it in pixels, as per usual. Here’s a hundred angles on the merriment.

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

THE EXPRESS TRACK TO HOLIDAY TIME

img_5665112709As usual, several thousand people are expected to pack Red Bank’s Broad Street for a Holiday Express concert and overall merriment Friday night. These pix are from 2009. (Click to enlarge)

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Even hardcore humbugs and web-shopping wetblankets can agree that there’s no better time for a bit of light therapy than Black Friday.

This Friday evening, for the 17th consecutive year, Holiday Express — the all-volunteer force of musical goodwill — pulls into station stop Red Bank to perform a free outdoor concert that sounds the keynote to the annual Town Lighting ceremony.

If you’ve spent at least a year of your life in the area, you’ll know the event as the “real” kickoff to the holidays — not just in Red Bank but all around the greater ‘green. And it’s just the tip of the icicle for a sleighload slate of activities that begins in earnest this weekend.

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GOT AN EXTRA TREE LYING AROUND?

tree-litYes, folks, it’s that time of year. The book is closed on Halloween. Jim Bruno’s crew from Powerhouse Signworks has started stringing lights in trees downtown. And the event planners at Red Bank RiverCenter are sniffing around for a tree.

No, not one of Bruno’s trees. This one needs to be 20- to 25-feet tall, evergreen, full-bodied and ready to give its life for the joy of the multitudes expected to jam Monmouth and Broad Streets on Friday, November 26.

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SIGHTS & SOUNDS FROM HOLIDAY LIGHT-UP

Here’s a video of the Holiday Express concert and downtown lighting event in Red Bank Friday night.

Thanks to Jeff Linkous of Art-Linked Letters, who shot and edited this baby for redbankgreen.

If you haven’t seen our photo slideshow from the event, that’s right here.

DOWNTOWN READY FOR ITS CLOSE-UP

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Unadorned, but not for long, this year’s holiday tree awaits its big moment in the courtyard of the Dublin House restaurant on Monmouth Street earlier this week.

One of the biggest, and certainly the jolliest, events of the year returns to Red Bank for its 16th edition Friday evening.

We’re talking about the hard-to-name series of mini-spectacles that begin with a Santa Claus-accompanied train ride into town, gather steam with a parade down Monmouth Street, go all sparkly with downtown tree lighting and culminate with the chummiest R&B-inflected outdoor holiday singalong money can buy.

And it’s all free.

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CAN YOU SPARE A SPRUCE?

tree-before-after-1Last year’s tree, seen as it was removed from Luba and Val DeFazio’s Tower Hill Avenue yard, left, and all lit up outside the Dublin House. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank RiverCenter is on its annual hunt for the perfect tree to serve as the downtown centerpiece for the coming holiday season.

Got one you want you don’t need lying around?

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