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

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!

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

Fourth-of-July-FamilyHappy 239th Birthday, America! As we prepare to celebrate our independence this upcoming weekend, there are so many exciting celebrations that you and your family and friends can join in on. Check out the events and activities below that are going on all month long in a town near you.

4th of July Firework Celebrations:

Sunday, July 5: This year, Monmouth Park Racetrack (Oceanport) is throwing the ultimate backyard BBQ – the Red, White & Blue Party, presented by Budweiser. Gather your friends, wear your most patriotic red, white, and blue, and come party Monmouth Park style. There will be tons of food, drink specials, live music courtesy of Rockin’ Thunder 106 and Fun 107.1, games, and so much more. Eating competitions such as whipped cream pie, watermelon, and hot dogs will also take place – plus, a spicy wing eating competition! In addition, Monmouth Park will be celebrating our armed forces and local first responders – many of whom will be on-site celebrating too. So tell all your friends that the biggest summer party is the Red, White & Blue Party – you won’t want to miss it! For more information, call 732-222-5100.

Saturday, July 11: Attention runners: Register today for Belmar’s Annual 5k Run! The race will start at Silver Lake Park at 7:00am where you can run through the beautiful streets of Belmar. You can join as an individual or a team, and there’s even an opportunity for children to join the run as well! For more information, call 732-681-3700.

Wednesday, July 15: Head on down to the sandy shores of Belmar for the 29th Annual New Jersey Sandcastle Contest! The event will be held at Belmar’s 18th Avenue Beach from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm. The competition is free and open to participants of all ages. *Rain date is July 29. For more information, call 732-681-3700 ext. 214.

Saturday, July 18: It’s the Asbury Park Blues & Brews Festival at Bradley Park. Attendees will be able to enjoy music all day long on the Main Stage, plus a biergarten, arts & crafts, food, and of course, access to the beach! This event is free of charge and will be held rain or shine. You won’t want to miss some of the very best jazz and blues music around, which has become an award-winning New Jersey tradition. For more information, call 732-933-1984.

Wednesday, July 22 – Sunday, July 26: Come one, come all to the Monmouth County Fair! The fair will be located at the East Freehold Showgrounds on Kozloski Road in Freehold. Times are as follows: Wednesday-Friday 5-11pm, Saturday 3-11pm, and Sunday, 11am-6pm. Enjoy tons of food, games, and rides as well as the 2015 Home & Garden Competition! For more information, call 732-842-4000.

Thursday, July 30 – Sunday, August 2: Head to the 21st Annual Clam Fest at Huddy Park (Highlands)! This 4-day, action packed event, features the freshest seafood, live entertainment, contests, vendors, crafters, games, rides, and the best part – free entry and parking! For more information, call 732-291-4713.

We hope you’re having a great summer!

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

getty_rf_photo_of_family_on_boardwalk_at_beachThe “unofficial” start of summer occurred last week during Memorial Day, and we know everyone is ready to take on the heat and enjoy the great outdoors. This is best time of year to indulge in fun activities and take local day-trips with family and friends. Check out these free or inexpensive activities and events below to start your next adventure…

Thursday, June 4 – Sunday, June 7: It’s the 46th Annual NHRA Toyota SUMMERNATIONALS at Raceway Park (Englishtown)! Enjoy races, food, and fun with the entire family. Tickets start at just $5 – buy yours in advance today. For more information, call 732- 446-7800.

Saturday, June 6: Are you ready for a challenge? Take your chance at the Thompson Park Amazing Funtathlon (Lincroft)! This exciting event offers families the opportunity to compete in a variety of outdoor adventure challenges. Teams composed of two to six members (any combination of adults/children) race against the clock and each other as they traverse the park solving problems and completing challenges. For more information, call 732-842-4000 ext. 4236.

Sunday, June 7: Wear your favorite green attire to the 45th Annual Irish Festival at Monmouth Park (Oceanport)! From noon to 6pm, come celebrate your inner Irish on a day where everyone has a little bit of Ireland in them. Enjoy a beautiful day of live Thoroughbred racing highlighted by Irish step dancing, crafters, food, a pipe and drum competition and the fan-favorite human-horse race. Music from the Emerald Isle will be playing all day from three different stages. So wear green, dust off your finest Irish brogue, and enjoy a great day of fun to celebrate everything Irish. For more information, call 732-222-5100.

Tuesday, June 9: Looking to purchase a new vehicle, and still want to get a great deal and not burn a hole in your wallet? You’ve come to the right place – register for First Financial’s upcoming FREE “How to Walk Out of a Dealership with a New Car AND Your Wallet” seminar at 6pm in Freehold/Howell where you will learn the in’s and out’s of car buying from negotiating price to financing your car. First Financial’s Lending Team will show you the ways to prepare for car shopping, how to avoid allowing your emotions from getting involved in the transaction, and much more. Register today by clicking on the link above or call 866.750.0100.

Friday, June 12 – Sunday, June 14: Does anything scream summer at the Jersey Shore more than fresh seafood? Come celebrate the best the ocean has to offer at the annual three-day New Jersey Seafood Festival in Belmar. Featuring 40+ seafood vendors, beer tent & wine garden, children’s activity tent, and live music. FREE admission and shuttle from the marina and train station will be available. This great event is sponsored by the Belmar Tourism Commission. For more information, 732-681-3700 ext. 214.

Saturday, June 20 – Sunday, June 21: Do you have what it takes to be a Navy Seal? Test your luck at the BattleFrog Obstacle Race – a series obstacles designed by US Navy Seals. These obstacles include ladder walls, cargo nets, monkey bars, paintball, normandy jacks, wall climbs, and SO MUCH MORE! Join alone or with a team today – event will be held at Raceway Park (Englishtown). For more information, call 786-479-6498.

Saturday, June 27 – Sunday, June 28: New Jersey’s finest wineries are back for another weekend of elegant wine tasting at Monmouth Park (Oceanport) for the Win & Wine Weekend and Chocolate Expo! This year, they’re joined by some of the top local chocolatiers for their first-ever chocolate expo. It’s a two-day festival filled with wine and chocolate – can you really afford to miss this?! So gather up your friends and family, sample from dozens of delicious New Jersey wines, and finish it all with the smooth taste of chocolate. Pick up a bottle of wine and picnic for the day or buy a $10 wristband for unlimited sampling. You definitely don’t want to miss the most decadent day of the year! For more information, call 732-222-5100.

The Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce proudly invites you to the 7th Annual LobsterFest (6th Ave beachfront)! The entire family can enjoy this FREE event along with live music, over 100 craft & specialty vendors, beer & wine garden, great oceanfront location, and children’s activities such as a water slide, rides, face painters and sand art. For more information, call 732-776-2999 or visit their Facebook page.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below and let us know if you attend any of these events and give us your feedback!