Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this July 2014

Family-at-the-beach_summer-funSweet summertime! Time for trips to the beach, BBQs, fireworks, fairs, boardwalk fun, and so much more. Enjoy this time of year with the people you love spending time with – like your family and friends! Check out these free or inexpensive events below that are happening this month in a town near you.

Tuesday, July 1 – Saturday, July 5: It’s the Atlantic Highlands Firemen’s Fair! Bring the whole family to enjoy games, rides, food, and some good ol’ fashioned fun! Fireworks are on Friday, July 4 at 9:45 p.m. Fair starts every night at 6pm and is located at the Atlantic Highlands Marina, 2 Simon Lake Drive. Admission is FREE! For more information, call 732-872-8711.

4th of July Celebrations:

Tuesday, July 8: Head over to the MAC at Monmouth University (West Long Branch) and see AMERICAN IDOL® LIVE! This show gives fans the unique opportunity to be up close and personal with Season 13 Finalists including C.J. Harris, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse, MK Nobilette, Alex Preston, Dexter Roberts, Majesty Rose, Malaya Watson and Sam Woolf. Tickets start as low as $46 – for more information, call 732-571-3483.

Thursday, July 10 – Sunday, July 13: If you’re looking for some family fun, head over to the Colts Neck Country Fair! There will be live music, food, games, contests, entertainment and of course, a firework display on July 10th. The fair will be held at Bucks Mill Park – for more information, call 732-462-8500.

Saturday, July 12 – Sunday, July 13: Looking to test your pallet while enjoying an amazing view? Check out Bradley Beach’s Annual Lobster Festival! Both days are completely free to enter and will take place from 11am – 9pm on Saturday and 11am – 6pm on Sunday. Enjoy more lobster than ever before including broiled lobster, lobster mac and cheese, lobster rolls, and more. There will also be six bands, live DJ playing requests, over 100 craft and speciality vendors, beer & wine gardens, giant water slide, children’s activities including rides, face painters and sand art. For more information, call 732-897-1111.

Sunday, July 13: The 6th Annual American Girl and Teddy Bear Tea Party is the perfect mommy-daughter date! Children and their favorite adults will gather under tents on the lawn of the Eden Woolley House (Ocean Township). The dolls and their young owners are the main attraction. Children show off the outfits of their favorite dolls (or teddy bears) in a charming fashion show. They make a craft, hear an original story of the Woolley Sisters, and enjoy a tasty tea party. Tickets are just $30 and admit one child (5 years and older) and one adult. Reservations are a must. To make reservations and for more information, call 732-531-6040 or 732-531-2136.

Wednesday, July 23 – Sunday, July 27: There’s another fair in town – the Monmouth County Fair (Freehold)! The fair will have fireworks, 4-H events, animal shows & exhibits, rides, free stage entertainment, racing pigs, home & garden competition, and more. Fairgrounds are located on Kozloski Road – for more information, call (732) 842-4000.

Thursday, July 31 – Sunday, August 3: Bring your family and friends out to this 4-day, action packed event, the 20th Annual Highlands Clam Fest! The festival will be featuring the freshest seafood from local restaurants, spirits, live entertainment, thrill rides, games and more. The event will be held at Huddy Park – for more information, call 732-291-4713.

 Have a wonderful summer!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this June 2014

Family on bikes outdoors smilingMemorial Day has quickly come and gone, but that just means that summer is finally here! Time to put that harsh winter behind and focus on the great weather, great food, great activities and great times with family and friends! As always, we’ll be featuring free or inexpensive activities throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties that everyone can enjoy.

Thursday, June 5: Enjoy an intimate performance with musicians, Kevin and Joe Jonas, formerly of the pop rock band Jonas Brothers. This time they aren’t singing their hit songs, but instead answering questions and talking with their fans in an intimate, interactive theater experience called Off the Record with Kevin & Joe Jonas. Off the Record is a chance for Kevin and Joe to interact with fans like never before. The live show will feature Q&A sessions, never-before-seen video footage, audience participation, and many other surprises that will give fans a rare up-close and personal look at the two Jonas brothers. Don’t miss this! The event will be held at iPlay America (Freehold) at 7pm. Tickets start at just $39. For more information, call 732-577-8200.

Saturday, June 7: Wear glow-in-the-dark accessories for Dorbrook Recreation Area’s (Colts Neck) first-ever Glo-in-the-Park 3k Fun Run night race! The 3k course will be glowing and ready for seasoned runners or first time racers. Register in advance or day of race for a minimal fee. The race waves will take place between 7:30pm-10:30pm. For more information, call 732-542-1642 ext. 23.

It’s time for the Asbury Park Blues & Brews Festival! This FREE, rain or shine event will be held from noon – 8pm, attendees will enjoy 6 great bands with headliner: Rob Paporozzi & the Hudson River Rats! There will also be vendors, crafters, art, kids’ activities and above all, a ton of music! The event will be featuring a Beer Garden and downtown shopping. For more information, call 732-933-1984.

Sunday, June 8: The 44th Annual New Jersey Irish Festival is back at Monmouth Park (Oceanport)! Enjoy live entertainment on two different stages, pipe and drum band competition, Catholic Mass, food and craft vendors, Irish Step Dancing, family activities, 50/50 raffle, Ceili & Step Dancing, a human horse race, as well as a full day of live Thoroughbred racing! Gates will open at 10:00am, Catholic Mass will be held at 11:00am and the 1st post will be at 12:50pm. For more information, call 732-222-5100.

Friday, June 13 - Sunday, June 15: It’s back and better than ever – Belmar’s 28th Annual Seafood Festival! One of the largest seafood festivals in the nation. Visitors will enjoy great seafood, crafters, live entertainment, and more. Event times vary: 6/13: 4pm – 8pm, 6/14: 11am – 8pm, 6/15: 11am – 6pm. For more information, call  732-681-3700 ext. 214.

Sunday, June 15: Celebrate Father’s Day at 4JG’s Winery (Colts Neck) for a Pig Roast! Mark your calendars and treat your Dad with a special day together. Call in advance to reserve your space – reservations required at just $25 per person. The event will take place from noon – 5pm. For more information, call 908-930-8066.

Saturday, June 21: Bring the family out to the Middletown 350 Time Capsule Celebration and Parade! Celebrate Middletown’s birthday at this FREE family-friendly event featuring a parade, the burying of the Time Capsule, entertainment, and more! The parade begins at Middletown High School North at 11 a.m. and ends at the Middletown Arts Center. For more information, call 732-615-2260.

Saturday, June 21 & Sunday, June 22: It’s the Win & Wine Weekend at Monmouth Park (Oceanport)! Be sure to save the date - the best local New Jersey wineries will be pouring their featured wines. This is a great opportunity to plan a picnic with family and friends for the day! No advance tickets required. The event will take place from noon - 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 609-758-5400.

Friday, June 27 & Saturday, June 28: The NJ Surf Show & Algonquin Arts Theatre (Manasquan) presents the Saltwater Festival! The event was created to provide New Jersey and the East Coast the best offerings in surf, film, and art. An ambitious and remarkable lineup of artists, shapers, photographers and vendors headline the event, which shines a light on all the amazing men and women who inspire greatness and promote a positive reflection of what a surfer is, and can be. The theme of this year’s event is informally “East Meets West,” with some of the best creative spirits from both coasts involved. Times and ticket prices vary – for more information and to purchase tickets online, click on the link above. For additional questions, call 732-528-3149.

Have a GREAT summer & Happy Father’s Day!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this May 2014

familypicinicIt’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the great outdoors! During the warm weather months, you can visit your county’s local parks and enjoy a nice bike ride, a family hike, play basketball or even a have a quaint family picnic! It’s free, fun and a great way to stay active and get some fresh air. Check out some more free or inexpensive activities below that you can enjoy this month with your family and friends.

Friday, May 2 & Saturday, May 3: It’s Spring Lake’s Fashion Show Kick-Off Party at the Spring Lake Community House! Friday’s events will be held from 7pm -10pm and includes your entrance to the Fashion Show previewing 2014 fashions, open bar courtesy of Egan’s Liquors, swag-bag, photo booth, hors d’oeuvres and light fare. Saturday’s events are from 10am – 5pm which includes a special appearance by Dr. Christopher Godek of the Personal Enhancement Center, designer trunk shows, salon blowouts, make-up demonstrations, wine tasting, restaurant price-fixed menus, gifts, giveaways and so much more! Tickets are $50 per person – for more information, call 732-449-4530.

Saturday, May 3: Head on over to Wall Stadium Speedway for Fan Appreciation Day! There will be a party on the track where fans can meet the drivers and see the cars up close. Cars displayed include: Downs Ford Modifieds, Sportsman, Legends, Limited Late Models, Factory Stocks and 4-Cylinders. Tickets will be sold at a discounted price – for more information and times, call 732-681-6400.

Saturday, May 10: It’s Opening Day at Monmouth Racetrack (Oceanport)! The staff welcomes back Thoroughbred racing to the Jersey Shore with FREE Grandstand admission and half price Clubhouse admission. A shore tradition since 1846 and home to the best racing fans in the country, the Monmouth Park gates re-open for the 2014 season at 11:30am and the first port is at 12:50pm. Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a VIP Season & Parking Pass! For more information, call 732-222-5100.

Sunday, May 11: Make a statement this year and surprise your mom with a special Mother’s Day Brunch at Laurita Winery (New Egypt)! Catered by Branches Catering, brunch will be served featuring a spread of exceptional dishes using many local seasonal ingredients. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of their 43 acres of beautiful vineyards surrounded by rolling hills and local farms while enjoying a wonderful and memorable meal with the mom you love! Space is limited, call 732-542-5050 to make reservations in advance.

Tuesday, May 13: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Ocean Counties are hosting their 15th Annual Gourmet Food and Wine Tasting Event at Buona Sera Ristorante (Red Bank)! From 6:30pm-9:30pm, enjoy six different wine tasting tables, sample Tito’s Handmade Vodka and a surprise brew for the beer lovers. The night will also include passed hors d’oeuvres, raw bar, pasta and specialty stations, and a delectable desserts display that will round out this fantastic evening. There will also be Silent and Chance Auctions that will offer something for everyone! The attendees’ presence will enable BBBSMMC to sustain and expand their one-on-one mentoring programs for children in our community. For more information, click on the event link above.

Saturday, May 17 & Sunday, May 18: Enjoy a 2 day cycling adventure for the Bike MS 2014: Coast to Coast Tour! Choose your challenge, with route options for all cycling abilities all starting at Monmouth University (West Long Branch). You’ll travel through seaside towns, across inlets, through the Pine Barrens and finish in historic Cape May. There are route options for cyclists of every level, ranging from 25-170 miles. The ride is fully supported with catered rest stops, bike mechanics, full meals, and support vehicles. Invite your family and friends to cheer as you cross the finish line and enjoy a lunch at Monmouth University for the shorter routes or a wonderful evening celebration for those riding to the Pinelands. A fantastic dinner awaits you with great food, music, a beer garden, massage tent and fun. For prices and more information, call the MS National Society at 732-660-1005 ex.44321.

Saturday, May 17: It’s the Calendar for Kids of Monmouth County’s Family Fun Day at Pier Village (Long Branch)! The event is free of charge and will be held from 10am-2:30pm including outdoor family oriented activities, kiddie yoga, face painting, tumbling demonstrations along with family vendors and resources to help you have a happy and healthy family. This annual event has grown each year and is now one of Pier Village’s signature family events. For more information, click on the event link above.

Click on the links below for information on local events just for Memorial Day!

Friday, May 30 – Sunday, June 1: Three days of sun, sunsets, and evening stars featuring the best restaurants, non-stop music, and family fun - it’s the Red Bank Riverfest! Red Bank, considered the hippest town in the state of New Jersey by New Jersey Monthly Magazine, is home to this three-day event. Additional attractions include a children’s palace and river cruises to enjoy the scenic views of the Navesink River. Times are as follows, Friday 5pm -10pm, Saturday 11am -10pm, and Sunday 11am – 6pm. For more information, 732-741-0055.

Have a great month!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth and Ocean Counties this February 2014

44B1BDBF45EE25F244F73714255CBWith record breaking temperatures this winter, it’s time to make your way out of hibernation and have some fun even if there is snow on the ground. It’s the month to celebrate “love,” so grab your loved ones and enjoy some quality time with one another. Check out these free and/or inexpensive activities happening right here in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

February 8 & 9 and 15 & 16: Romance is in the air! Celebrate Valentine’s Day at 4JG’s Winery with wine tastings and of course chocolate – the perfect pair! The Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail event takes place for two consecutive weekends from 12pm-5pm (127 Hillsdale Road, Colts Neck). For more information, call 908.930.8066.

Sunday, February 9: Looking for a winter getaway? Check out Monmouth County’s First Ever Vacation Expo presented by Sickles Market and Excel Travel. From 11am-3pm, head over to Sickles Market (1 Harrison Ave, Little Silver) and check out cruise lines, exotic destinations, yacht charters, adventure holidays and more. Plus, Excel Travel will be offering an EXTRA $100 OFF any vacation package booked at the event. For more information, call 732.571.1960.

The Monmouth County SPCA will be hosting their annual Valentine’s Brunch to help raise money for homeless animals. Enjoy brunch, refreshments, live music and gift auction prizes! Event will take place from 11am-2pm at McLoone’s Pier House at Pier Village (1 Ocean Ave, Long Branch). Tickets include one Mimosa or Bloody Mary, a huge chance auction with incredible prizes for people & pets, a “Smooch a Pooch” Kissing Booth, 50/50 raffle and more! Hurry – purchase tickets online because this event sells out fast. For more information, call 732.440.1558.

Monday, February 17 – Wednesday, February 26: It’s Red Bank’s 1st Annual Restaurant Week! In a town known for its food, lovers of the Red Bank restaurant scene will have even more to cheer about! The first-ever celebration will feature $30 prix fixe dinner menus at many of the borough’s outstanding restaurants plus promotions and discounts at great eateries and food retailers (event excludes Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21-22). For more information, call 732.741.9211.

Tuesday, February 18: “Oh, the things you can think” when Dr. Seuss’s best-loved stories collide and cavort in an unforgettable musical caper – Seussical! Adapted from the Broadway version, this adaptation especially for young audiences features thirteen actors and enhanced production values. Seussical is TheatreworksUSA’s biggest show ever! Purchase tickets online or at the door for just $10 or $12 — the show will take place at 12:15pm at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre (400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch). A perfect family event! For more information, call 732.263.6889.

Friday, February 21- Sunday, February 23: A celebration of great food and wine at the Jersey Shore, it’s the Jersey Shore Wine Weekend! The events will take place all weekend at Ocean Place Resort and Spa (1 Ocean Blvd, Long Branch). With a special hotel offer, breakfast and spa credit, enjoy a couples’ or girlfriends’ weekend getaway! Check out the link above for a the schedule of events. For more information, call 732.571.4000.

Friday, February 28 – Sunday, March 2: Get your girlfriends together for Ocean Grove’s Girlfriends’ Getaway Weekend! Book your choice of participating hotels and enjoy activities like a yoga class, champagne tasting, cooking class, wine and cheese tasting, massage/facial and so much more. Rooms starting at just $84, you don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity to take a break from your husbands and boyfriends, and enjoy a weekend filled with activities, entertainment, and relaxation with your girls! For more information, call 732.774.1391.

Have a great month!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth and Ocean Counties this January 2014

traditions-of-Christmas-plum-districtHappy New Year! Now that we all can relax since the holiday rush is over, we can ring in the new year with these free or inexpensive activities that you can enjoy with friends and family. Check out the events below that are happening right here in Monmouth and Ocean counties!

Wednesday, January 1st: Support the Sons of Ireland as they partake in the 2014 Polar Bear Plunge on the beachfront of Asbury Park! Since 2003, the Sons of Ireland have been starting the new year off the right way by helping raise money for four highly deserving local charitable organizations. The event beings at 10am with check-in and concludes at 3pm — the event will have live entertainment including performances from Brian Kirk and the Jerks as well as a traditional bagpipe ceremony before the plunge. For more information, contact

Saturday, January 4th: It’s Marine Mammal Appreciation Day at Jenkinson’s Aquarium! Head on down to the Point Pleasant boardwalk and celebrate mammals of all shapes and sizes while enjoying a family-fun day filled with activities and crafts which are all included with admission. For prices and information, visit or call 732-892-0600.

Saturday, January 11th: Laurita Winery hosts Country Line Dance Night (New Egypt)! From 7pm-11pm, you’ll have a live DJ with a dance instructor teaching dozens of popular line dances – it will be a night of great music, dance and of course wine! Country style menu specials will be available for purchase starting at 6:00pm. For more information, please use their contact form or call 1.800.LAURITA or 609.752.0200.

Friday, January 17th: Celebrate the King’s birthday at Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank) with the ultimate Elvis tribute show, starring two of the world’s finest Elvis Tribute Artists. Mike Albert is second to none in bringing to life the Elvis of the ’70s, while Scot Bruce looks like, sounds like—and swings his hips like—Elvis in his younger days. Backed by the fantastic Big “E” Band, they’ll leave you screaming for more. The show begins at 8pm and tickets start at just $20 per person. For more information, call 732-842-9000.

Thursday, January 23rd: Join us for part one of an interactive two part business series, “Building Your Business Dreams” presented by Jack Gottlieb, owner of The Total Solutions Group, Inc. Part one’s topic focuses on “Creating a Plan to Start Your Dream Business” and starts at 8:30am where attendees will have the opportunity to network and promptly at 9am the seminar will begin. The event will be held at our corporate headquarters in Wall. For more information, visit and click on the event calendar icon.

Saturday, January 25th: Create those lazy-daisy attitudes of the early 70s with a boogie-night celebration under the glittering disco globes with an exciting never ending dance night at Laurita Winery’s 70′s Non-Stop Dance Party (New Eygpt)! Why not dig out those mini-skirts with platform shoes and short shorts and the white athletic knee –highs. You can leave your pet rock home and come get down tonight to “Dancing Queen,” “Shake Your Body,” “Staying Alive” and more! Come early and enjoy food specials and your favorite Laurita wines. For more information, call 1.800.LAURITA or 609.752.0200 and don’t forget to purchase tickets at the bar or online today!

Tuesday, January 28th: The experts at First Financial will educate attendees on how they can budget their finances for the new year in just four easy steps at our information-packed Budgeting Seminar! Join us at our Howell branch at 6pm to find out how you can manage your finances without wrecking your budget. For more information, visit and click on the event calendar icon.

Thursday, January 30th: National Theatre Live will broadcast the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Coriolanus, Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge, with Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, War Horse (film), BBC’s The Hollow Crown) in the title role and Mark Gatiss (Season’s Greetings at the National Theatre, BBC’s Sherlock) as Menenius, directed by the Donmar’s Artistic Director Josie Rourke. The event will take place at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre at 7pm. Tickets are just $22 a person – for more information, contact

Have a great month!

Things To Do on a Budget in Monmouth and Ocean Counties This November 2013

OostappenHerfst-1November is here, the leaves are falling and winter is just around the corner. Make the most of the last month of autumn — and the peace before holiday-season craziness. Check out these fun, free and/or inexpensive activities you can do right here in Monmouth and Ocean counties with family and friends.

Saturday, November 9: Get started on your holiday shopping by visiting the Late Fall Flea Market in Allaire Village (Farmingdale)! From 8:00am-3:00pm, shop and enjoy the dozens of vendors selling all types of fun and unique items. Admission is just $1 for adults and children under 12 are FREE (rain date is Sunday, November 10).

Sunday, November 10: Take the kids (ages 5+) to an educational, yet exciting behind the scenes tour of Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant). From 9:30am-11am, discover what goes on behind the scenes at the aquarium while you tour the building from top to bottom. Pre-registration and sneakers are required — call 732-899-1659 for more information and to reserved your spot. Just $14 for Adults and $10 for Children.

Saturday, November 19: How about a relaxing “Movie Night in the Park” at Island Beach State Park (Seaside)? The whole family will be able to enjoy the holiday classic, “Home Alone”, in the Interpretive Center from 6:00pm-8:00pm. Enjoy this family-friendly movie where natural educators will briefly discuss movie-relevant topics as they relate to real life before playing the movie. Don’t forget to bring a pillow and blanket! Keep in mind that a minor must accompanied by an adult and the event only costs $5 per person. For more info, please call the Park Office at 732-793-0506.

Sunday, November 24: What are you thankful for? In honor of Thanksgiving, bring the entire family to this historical rendition of “Our Day of Thanks” in 1830s style. This is a reenactment program in the Allaire Chapel at 1pm in Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) and you actually watch them prepare an 1800′s style Thanksgiving meal over an open hearth! For more information, call (732) 919-3500. 

Friday, November 29: Get in the holiday spirit and come on down for a family night out to Red Bank’s Holiday Express Contest and Town LightingRock and Roll with Holiday Express in concert and see the town of Red Bank light up for the holiday season!
This FREE event will take place on Broad and Canal Streets at 7pm.

Looking for a fun-filled day for the kids? Bring them to Red Bank’s “The Twelve Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt“. Store-front windows will be decorated and will include a hidden item from the classic holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. When the item is found, write it down on the entry form (available at all participating businesses) for a chance to win a Red Bank Grand Prize! Visit the website link above for complete list of participating stores and restaurants (through 12/12).

Saturday, November 30: Pack up the kids and head over to Spring Lake’s Christmas Celebration Kick-offwhere kids can enjoy hayrides, live music, dancers, holiday treats, a tour of Santa’s Workshop, a display of Clayton Livery Miniature Village Train Spectacular, and so much more! Kick-off celebration is FREE, starts at 6pm and all stores will be open until 8pm.

During the season of giving, stop by and support those who were affected by Superstorm Sandy at Belmar’s 2nd Annual 10th Avenue Freeze Out. Help over a dozen families who are still displaced and many others who are still trying to get their lives back on track. Gather in Belmar for a day of fun and share the gift of friendship, love, laughter and community. Children will have a two hour party in the plaza (Pyanoe Plaza) with free hot dogs, ice cream, music, and games from 12:00pm-2:00pm. At 2:00, Mayor Doherty will say a few words and the adult party will begin at all participating bars in Belmar and Lake Como. A $20 donation includes 2 free drinks and admission to the buffet. Click on the link above for or additional event details.

Enjoy these great activities and have a happy Thanksgiving!