Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this February 2016

Love is in the air – and there’s so much to love this February with a ton of fantastic events happening in a town near you. Check out the list below of free or inexpensive activities to do with your loved ones all month long.

Wednesday, February 10: The State Ballet Theater of Russia presents one of the greatest classical ballets of all time, Swan Lake at Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank). This full-scale production, set to the music of Tchaikovsky and based on Russian folklore and German legend, follows a heroic young prince as he works to free the beautiful swan maiden from an evil spell. The State Ballet Theater of Russia presents 50 of Russia’s brightest ballet stars to bring this romantic tale of true love to glorious life! Tickets start at just $30. For more information and showtimes, call 732-842-9000.

Saturday, February 13: Take five of the top musicians from the greater New York area and create a sound that blends a healthy serving of traditional jazz, a touch of blues and rock, a dash of international flair, combined with a steady mix of standards and new material; and you begin to have a sense of the tasty cocktail that Sweet Whiskey will be serving up. This Valentine’s Day, take your loved one to enjoy “Jazz, Love, & Sweet Whiskey” at 8pm to hear all those songs that make your heart pitter patter at Algonquin Arts Theatre (Manasquan). For more information, call 732-528-9211.

Thursday, February 18: Join us at 6:00pm for our “How to Buy & Sell Your Home” Seminar, presented by the experts at First Financial. Learn how to go about buying a new home, the best way to sell your current home, figure out how much house you can afford to buy, budgeting tips for home improvement projects, plus so much more! The event will be held at our Wall Office at 1800 Route 34 North (Building 3, Suite 302), Wall. Space is limited, so make sure you sign up today! For more information, call 866-750-0100.

Sunday, February 21: Take the journey of a lifetime and step into the “unbubblelievable” magical kingdom of Fan Yang’s Mega Bubble Show at the Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank)! The first and only, interactive stage production of its kind, complete with fantastic light effects, lasers, and jaw-dropping masterpieces of bubble artistry – this unforgettable extravaganza is not to be missed. Bring the whole family for a day of fun – showtimes are at 12pm and 3pm and tickets start at just $20. For more information, call 732-842-9000.

Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday at historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale). In the early 1800’s there were no holidays that the new nation could bond over more so than George Washington’s birthday. There were dances and festivities in almost every town, so join the workers and their families of the Howell Iron Works in a day of celebration! There will be a special reenactment in the Chapel at 1pm and hearth cooking and craft demonstrations as well as house tours. This event is a great reason to get out of the house during winter and explore the village! For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Head over to Havana Tropical Cafe (Highlands) for their Annual Chili Cookoff! All proceeds will directly benefit the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Sample some of the best chili in the area – the event will take place from 3-7pm and is $30 per person which includes chili tasting and beer. For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Sunday, February 21 – Wednesday, March 3: Mark your calendars! February is the time to dine fine in Red Bank – it’s Red Bank Restaurant Week! From February 21-March 3 (excluding Friday and Saturday), take advantage of $20, $25 and $30 prix fixe dining at over 20 outstanding restaurants, including many brand new eateries! Menus include appetizer, entree and dessert – click the link above to check out the participating restaurants and menus. For more information, call 732-842-4244.

Thursday, February 25: Join us at 6pm for a complimentary “Income for Life” Seminar, presented by the Investment & Retirement Center located at First Financial. Learn the sources of retirement income to rely on and strategies to consider, current retirement risks and how you’re drawing on your savings, and how to use annuities to guarantee income for life. The event will be held at our Freehold/Howell Service Center located at 389 Route 9 North (Next to the Howell Park & Ride), Howell. Space is limited, so make sure you sign up today! For more information, call 866-750-0100.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this January 2016

New-Years-Eve-Family-Fun-in-Southeast-MichiganHappy 2016! We’re ready to kick off the new year with some wallet-friendly activities for your family and friends. So, break out that new calendar and pencil in these dates for some free or inexpensive events happening in a town near you this month.

Wednesday, January 6: Are you into vintage cars? Well, you’re in for a treat – it’s the British Automobile Display at the Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey (Pt. Pleasant Borough). From noon-4pm, enjoy an eclectic display of British Sports cars and sedans from the Positive Earth Drivers Club. The display includes at wide variety of automobilia, antique auto service equipment, die cast cars, vintage toys and assorted antiques. For more information, call 609-713-9074.

Saturday, January 16: Join the Ocean County Parks Department for “summer fun” in January with cool games, crafts, dancing and the world’s largest Twister game for their Winter Beach Blast! From 1pm-2:30pm, head on over to the Ocean County Mall (Toms River) for a FREE family-fun day. For more information, call 732-506-9090.

Head on over to Jake’s Branch County Park (Beachwood) for a Night of the Stars. Spend the night under the stars with A.S.T.R.A. (The Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area) volunteer members on site to share out of this world knowledge, answer questions, view stars, planets, and constellations through telescopes – feel free to bring your own telescope if you have one. This event is from 6pm-8pm and completely FREE! For more information, call 732-281-2750.

Saturday, January 23 & Sunday, January 24: Don’t miss this wintery mix of fun at Laurita Winery (New Egypt) for their two-day Ice Sculpture Fest! A family-friendly, winter wonderland event for all ages highlighted by ice sculptures, classic winter activities, and a variety of themed food and beverages. The cold weather will make this festival a go! Admission is just $10 for adults and $5 for children – order tickets online today by clicking on the link above. For more information, call 609-758-8000.

Saturday, January 23: The Strand Theatre (Lakewood) presents The Machine Performs Pink Floyd – a true Pink Floyd experience. James D’Amico Productions & Tommy’s House bring to the stage Pink Floyd’s tunes accompanied by an interstellar light and multimedia show. America’s top Pink Floyd show, has forged a 25 year reputation of excellence, extending the legacy of Pink Floyd. The Machine, a New York-based band, focuses on making every show an authentic Floydian experience for their fans. Tickets start at just $25 – for more information, call 732-367-7789.

Sunday, January 24: If you have ever wondered what goes on behind the door that says “Employees Only” at Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant)? This is your chance to find out at their Behind the Scenes Tour! Join the aquarium staff as they give you a tour of the aquarium from top to bottom. Pre-registration and sneakers are required and open to children ages 5 and up only. Tickets are just $10 for children and $15 for adults. Reserve your spot today – call 732-899-1659.

Saturday, January 30: You won’t want to miss The Music Man at Medley’s Singing Ice Cream Parlour (Seaside Heights) for the Super “Ice Cream” Bowl Party! While orders are delivered, music is playing and the wait staff begins to involve all customers in fun spoofs and getting at least one person from each table sing, dance, or shout for their ice cream! Be sure to stop by at 4pm, 6pm, or 8pm for some FREE fun when you order a sundae. For more information, call 844-854-2779.

We hope you have a great new year!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this November 2015

Fall-Family-FunIt’s time to kick off the start of the holiday season and there are so many great things to do with family and friends in the upcoming weeks to celebrate this special time of year! Just because it’s getting cold, it doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of “warming” outdoor activities to enjoy. Check out our list of free or inexpensive activities happening this month in a town near you.

Sunday, November 1: Don’t forget to turn your clocks back – Daylight Saving Time Ends!

Monday, November 2: The all-time favorite tale, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, is coming to the live stage at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre (West Long Branch). This enchanting musical is based on C.S. Lewis’ adventure story about four children of war-torn England, who accidentally enter the land of Narnia by climbing through a magic wardrobe. This strange and wondrous place is ruled by the cold-hearted White Witch, who makes the winter last year round. Although they seem unlikely saviors, the children fulfill an ancient prophecy by defeating the witch, thus restoring sunshine and peace to the spell-bound Narnia and returning the great Lion King Aslan to his throne. Tickets start at just $12! For more information, call 732-263-6889.

Friday, November 6 – Sunday, November 8: Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) will be hosting a Stocking Stuffer Sale all weekend long! From 10am – 3pm, shop for those perfect handmade items that will delight everyone on your holiday list. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Friday, November 6 – Sunday, November 15: It’s time for the 2015 Jersey Shore Restaurant Week! At participating Monmouth Country restaurants, you can enjoy a 3-course meal with your choice of an appetizer, entree and dessert for either $20.15 or $30.15. Check out all participating restaurants and try one (or even 10) places that you’ve never been to before and make it a night out on the town! For more information, visit the website above.

Saturday, November 7 – Sunday, November 8: Great Adventure’s (Jackson) 6th Annual Grape Adventure is back! The wine festival features 14 New Jersey vineyards with nearly 150 locally-produced wines for sampling, handcrafted gifts from local artisans, and an array of dishes from specialty food truck vendors. Grape Adventure takes place 11:30am – 5pm both Saturday and Sunday and the Safari Off Road Adventure tours will run from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. both days. For more information, call 732-928-2000.

Saturday, November 14: Browse, shop and look for that missing item, lost childhood toy, antique jewelry, memorabilia and more at the Late Fall Flea Market at Allaire Village (Farmingdale)! Admission is just $1 for those 12 and older and the event will be held from 8am – 3pm. The Village, General Store and Bakery will be open as well! For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Thursday, November 19: Join First Financial’s Investment & Retirement Center for a complimentary Basic Estate Planning Seminar at 6pm in Howell. Reserve your seat today – space and time is limited! For more information, call 866.750.0100 or visit www.firstffcu.com.

Saturday, November 21 – Sunday, January 3: Capture the magic of the holiday season at Great Adventure’s (Jackson) Holiday in the Park! Enjoy the millions of glittering lights, entertainment, seasonal treats, Santa’s village and so much more with the entire family. You won’t want to miss this enchanting event coming to the theme park for the first time ever. For more information, call 732-928-2000.

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremonies:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this October 2015

halloween-family-traditionsIt’s going to be a “spook-tacular” month! Get the family ready for an action-packed month filled with fun fall and Halloween activities. Check out the events below for free or inexpensive events happening in a town near you.

Friday, October 2 – Sunday, November 1: iPlay America (Freehold) will transform this October to Spooky Spooktacular Halloween! All month long experience a Halloween event like no other in Central NJ. This family friendly event features OVER 50 live show performances, Trick or Treat Trail, decorations and Halloween themed activities for all. This Halloween experience is one you don’t want to miss! For more information, call 732-577-8200.

Friday, October 2 & Saturday, October 3: Spend “An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe” at Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale). A spookily delightful evening with the Master of Macabre himself: Mr. Poe, presented by Helen McKenna-Uff. Advanced purchase required at just $20 a person. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Saturday, October 3: The feel-good spirit of Highlands’ Oktoberfest is modeled on the traditional Munich, Germany Oktoberfest with an emphasis on eating, drinking, and dancing while providing something for everyone. The park is festive, the food is great, and the varieties of German beers are even better. This event will be held from 2pm-9pm and guests can enjoy free admission and parking! For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Friday, October 9 & Saturday, October 10: You’re in for a special treat – Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) will be holding a reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with Neill Hartley. Enjoy an interactive retelling of the classic american folk tale with your family and friends. Advanced purchase is required at just $20 a person. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Sunday, October 11: Once again, Allaire Village (Farmingdale) is hosting a 19th Annual Century All Hallow’s Eve event! What IS the origin of the Jack O’Lantern? Why do we trick or treat? Ever wonder what makes Halloween “Halloween?” Find out all about the early traditions that make up Halloween today!  There will be free pumpkins (limited), storytelling, children’s games, tractor and wagon rides and so much more! There will also be a costume parade with prizes for children under 12 (three different age categories). For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Sunday, October 18: Asbury Park has conjured up some noteworthy ghosts – a few famous, most lesser-known-to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War for the 7th Annual Historic Ghost Walk. Hear first-hand tales of the battlefield and home-front from ghosts with New Jersey connections. The actors portraying ghosts include talented amateurs (students) and a few professionals. They have studied the history they “channel” and deliver performances that entertain and inform. Some are stationed outside; others perform at a reception for President and Mrs. Lincoln inside the Library’s Terner Gallery. Guests can even walk outside and stroll along the path east of the Museum, encountering ghosts. Head over to the Eden Wooley House grounds (703 Deal Rd, Asbury Park) at 5:30pm. For more information, call 732-531-2136.

Wednesday, October 21: Save the date! The Monmouth Museum presents a Paranormal Expedition & Luncheon at Our House Restaurant (a known haunting) in Farmingdale from 11:30am-2:30pm. The luncheon will be guided by paranormalist, Kathy Kelly. A medium will be present to help connect to the dearly departed and share her experiences. Reserve your seat today! For more information, call 732-224-1993.

Saturday, October 24th: The Highlands will be hosting their 1st Annual Zombie Parade and Pub Crawl! Shamble down Bay Avenue with fellow zombies – makeup artists will be available at 10am and those interested must register for the parade. The pub crawl registration includes limo bus and great discounts at local establishments. For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Halloween Parades:

Happy Halloween, everyone! 

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this September 2015

family-picnic-outdoors-meals-summerSummer is officially winding down and all the children are heading back to school for another year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of great events happening near you. Check out the list of activities that are kicking off the fall season. As always, feel free to post a comment and share your experience from any of the events listed here. Enjoy!

Friday, September 4 – Sunday, September 6: A musical perfect for the whole family, Seussical is a based on a combination of Dr. Seuss’s most famous books and beloved characters. This charming story teaches us the importance of believing in yourself and embracing uniqueness. Seussical is a production of Howell Police Athletic League Theater Company, a non-profit children’s theater company, dedicated to the children of Howell and the surrounding communities. See your favorite stories brought to life at the Algonquin Theatre (Manasquan)! For more information, call 917-838-8429.

Saturday, September 5 & Sunday, September 6: The Garden State Wine Growers Association presents the Jazz It Up Wine Festival at Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale). The 2015 Jazz it Up Wine Festival will tickle your palate while the jazz man tickles the ivories. Move your soul with tastings of hundreds of wines from 17 premier New Jersey wineries and some of the finest jazz acts on the east coast. This festival is the perfect way to beat the shore crowds while still enjoying the outdoors in September. Enjoy two days of delicious local wine sampling, fantastic foods, live jazz, crafters, kids’ activities, and more! For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Saturday, September 12: It’s time for the 11th Annual SkimBash Contest! The SkimBash, held in Sea Bright, is the premier professional/amateur skimboarding contest on the Jersey Shore. Skimboarders of all ages, from beginners to professionals, gather for this annual action-packed two-day event to show off their skills, and compete for prizes and cash from 8am-5pm. For more information, call 732-598-6028.

Thursday, September 10 – Sunday, September 13: Surfers and fans alike come back to the stretch of beach between 16th and 18th Ave in Belmar on the same weekend each year for the Annual Belmar Pro Surf Competition! Traveling pros recognize that this contest has a great history of waves and in the past, they’ve come from Australia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Europe, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and all over the US. Event-goers will be able to enjoy fun contests, autograph signings, demos, bands, food vendors, and giveaways. And the action doesn’t stop when the last horn goes for the day – the evenings are packed with parties, live bands at various venues, and film premieres! For more information, call 732-681-6405.

Friday, September 18 – Sunday, September 20: Head on over to FirstEnergy Park (Lakewood) for the Jersey Shore Boat Sale & Expo! This event is produced by the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey (MTA/NJ) and features over 20 top dealers, 50 of boating’s best brands, and 300 boating related businesses. Adults are just $4 and children 12 and younger are free (plus, free parking)! For more information, visit this link.

Saturday, September 19: Bring the whole family to enjoy an exciting day at the 4th Annual Open Space Pace and Festival of Horses at Freehold Raceway! Come join this free all-day event featuring of a parade of horses, demonstrations by equine and agricultural non-profits, live harness racing, petting zoos, live music, and more. The Open Space Pace is dedicated to the preservation and protection of open space in New Jersey. For more information, call 732-577-4059.

Friday, September 25 – Sunday, September 27: Raceway Park (Englishtown) is holding their 39th Annual Fall Swap Meet & Auto Show presented by PC Richard and Son! Attendees will be able to browse a wide display of antique, classic, and commercial cars as well as over 3,000 vendors, over 300 cars for sale, and much more! The event will take place from 7am-6pm – for more information, call 732-446-7800.

Sunday, September 27The Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival is a great time for family and friends and is fashioned after the 61-year-old Galway Oyster Festival celebrating the opening of the oyster season. It is a huge food and music festival which will showcase Red Bank’s excellent restaurants as well as entertain thousands with great live music, food, and family fun. For more information, call 732-842-4244.

Have a great September!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this August 2015

Family-in-PoolHappy summer everyone! As we continue to enjoy the beautiful weather and the fun outdoor activities – here are a few exciting events that you and your family and friends can attend all month long. Remember to get out and embrace the summer fun while it lasts!

Tuesday, August 4: Enjoy a night out to see The Piano Guys at Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank)! What do you get when you mix up a marketing genius who does video, a studio engineer who writes music, a pianist who had a successful solo career, and a cellist who does pretty much everything? The Piano Guys: a miraculous meeting of “guys” with the same intrinsic purpose – to make a positive impact in the lives of people all over the world through music videos. Tickets start at just $35 a person – for more information, call 732-842-9000.

Wednesday, August 5: It wouldn’t be the summer without The Sandy Hook Foundation’s Beach Concert Series. These concerts are free to the public, and each summer thousands of people of all ages come out to enjoy live entertainment on the beach at sunset. Each Wednesday during the summer, come enjoy live entertainment at Sandy Hook’s beach, 8/5’s performer is The Haven. For more information, call 732-291-7733.

Wednesday, August 5 – Sunday, August 9: Get ready for five days of fun dedicated to celebrating Italian heritage and culture at the 39th Annual Italian Festival! The event is free and will take place from 5-11pm at Joe Palaia Park (Oakhurst). There will be Italian cuisine (sausage and peppers and zeppoli), as well as entertainment throughout the festival, including: A&S Sound, Mario Delano Jr., Taylor Tote, Doo Wop Pop Disco, and Eric DeLauro. Enjoy rides, games, raffles, food eating contests and fireworks, which will be displayed at 9:30 p.m. August 7. For more information, call 732-517-1040.

August 6, 13, 20, and 27: Come ready to purchase Jersey’s finest produce and goods at Keyport’s Farmers Market! Shop a variety of fresh produce, honey/beeswax products, pickles, relish, olives, potted plants, and so much more. For more information, call 732-739-5138.

Saturday, August 8Head on over to Keansburg Amusement Park for Hot Rods & Food Trucks! As one of their signature events, attendees can enjoy classic cars and food truck cuisine from 11am-6pm. This family friendly event is a feast for the eyes and taste-buds, so bring your appetite! The event is located right on Beachway, in between the Water Park and Amusement Park. Tickets to the attractions may be purchased at the Park, and there will be free admission for the event. For more information, call 732-841-7732.

Saturday, August 15 – Sunday, August 16: Does anything scream summer at the Jersey Shore more than fresh seafood? Come celebrate the best the ocean has to offer at Monmouth Park’s (Oceanport) annual two-day Shore Chef Crab Cake Cook-Off! Dine on everything from chowder, to lobster rolls, to some of the best crab cakes you’ve ever had. Throw in some live music and the excitement of live, thoroughbred racing and this event will have you hungry for more. The event will be held from noon-5pm. For more information, call 732-222-5100.

Sunday, August 16: Love art? Stop by the 10th Annual Boardwalk Art Show in Asbury Park, sponsored by the Asbury Park Historical Society. This exhibit features fine art, oil, acrylic, watercolor, charcoal, pastel photographs and sculptures! For more information, call 848-667-3432.

Thursday, August 20 – Sunday, August 23: Come one, come all to the 25th Annual Colts Neck Country Fair! The fair will feature food, entertainment, vendors, rides and games. Daily entertainment includes performances by: August 20 – Matt O’Ree Band, August 21 – Moroccan Sheepherders, August 22 – Rock of Ages Band/Constantine Maroulis, August 23 – Slim Chance and The Gamblers. For more information, call 732-462-8500.

Friday, August 28: Come watch the talented Cassadee Pope in Concert at iPlay America (Freehold)! With soaring vocals, opening slots on major tours, impressive sales and being selected for CMT’s Next Women of Country, Cassadee Pope continues to add to her growing list of accolades. Mentor Blake Shelton presented the season three winner of The Voice with another fan-voted honor – 2014 CMT Music Awards’ Breakthrough Video of the Year. She ended 2014 with a Female Vocalist of the Year nomination at the first-ever American Country Countdown Awards. For more information, call 732-577-8200.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!