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

Family_readingThe most magical time of the year has arrived! With so many fun and festive events occurring this month, it will be hard to pick just a few. Enjoy this special time of year with all of your family and friends – check out the many free or inexpensive activities happening this month in a town near you.

Tree Lighting Ceremonies:

Friday, December 5 & Friday, December 12: It’s a performance of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Allaire Chapel (Farmingdale). The production starts at 7:30pm and admission is just $15 per person. Advance ticket purchase recommended – call 732-919-3500 for more information.

Saturday, December 6: Bring the kids to have Breakfast with Santa at Cafe 360 in Downtown Freehold! From 9am-12:30pm, kids can enjoy a great treat while visiting their favorite head elf. Call 732-294-4722 to make your reservations today.

It’s Monmouth County Paper Shredding Day! Monmouth County residents will have an opportunity to get rid of old documents and confidential files safely. Stop by the Wagner Farm Sports Complex at 4 Baird Road, Millstone between 9am-1pm. For more information, call 732-683-8686, ext. 6721.

Thursday, December 11: “Tis the Season: A Holiday Concert,” is an evening of seasonal music of choir, orchestra, and handbells performed in the majestic and festive atmosphere of Wilson Hall at Monmouth University (West Long Branch). The concert is at 7:30pm and conducted by Professor Michael Gillette and Dr. David M. Tripold and features the Colts Neck Reformed Church Exultation Ringers. To purchase tickets and for more information, call 732-683-6889.

Friday, December 12 – Sunday, December 14: Inspired by the classic holiday film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is performed as a 1940s radio broadcast in front of a live studio audience by the Center Players of Freehold. Featuring onstage Foley sound effects, vintage radio equipment, period costuming and radio commercials, all set to the soothing sounds of your favorite holiday standards. A handful of actors gather on Christmas Eve 1946, to perform the dozens of characters who bring this heart-warming tale to life. Tickets are just $15 a person. For more information, call 732-462-9093.

Saturday, December 13 – Sunday, December 14: American Repertory Ballet brings the magic, beauty, and fantasy of “The Nutcracker” to the stage with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, stunning sets, thrilling choreography, and a massive cast to the Algonquin Arts Theatre (Manasquan). Directed by Company Director Douglas Martin, ARB’s professional company will be joined by students from Princeton Ballet School to tell the story of a young girl and how a mysterious gift brings about enchanted dreams and fantastical scenes. Whether it’s your first time, an annual tradition, or an once-in-a-lifetime experience, ARB’s Nutcracker is a perfect holiday treat for the entire family. Various showtimes and prices available online, call 732-528-9211 for more information.

Saturday, December 14: Meet with Santa for an “Old Fashioned Colts Neck Christmas” and enjoy rich history, hot chocolate, candy canes, and other goodies! There will be a tree lighting ceremony and reading of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” read by Freehold Director, Lillian Burry. This FREE event will take place from 1-4:30pm at the Historic Montrose School, Corner of Cedar Drive & Montrose Road in Colts Neck. For more information, call 732-462-6888.

Friday, December 19 – Saturday, December 20: The classic animated television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” comes to life in this faithful stage adaptation at the Algonquin Arts Theatre (Manasquan) where Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the other Peanuts grapple with the real meaning of Christmas. Enjoy music arrangements that reflect the spirit and mood of Schulz’s work and introduce contemporary jazz to youngsters with grace, charm, and creativity. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a joyous and festive meditation for the holiday season. Various showtimes and prices available online, call 732-528-9211 for more information.

Grab some hot cocoa and popcorn and sit down with the family to enjoy holiday movies all month long! Click here to view the TV schedule for the holiday season.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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

Family at the dinner table at the Thanksgiving day.It’s officially the start of the holiday season and there are plenty of 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 outdoor activities to enjoy. Check out our list of free or inexpensive activities happening this month in a town near you.

Saturday, November 1 – Sunday, November 2: Gather your gals and treat yourselves to the best local shopping, fashion, travel, entertainment, food, and much more at the New Jersey Women’s Expo at Brookdale Community College (Lincroft)! This weekend-long showcase will feature the best products, services, and attractions created especially for women from 11am-5pm. $7 for adults and children 7 and under are FREE! For more information, click on the link above.

Friday, November 7 – Sunday, November 16: Plan a date night (or two), it’s time for Jersey Shore Restaurant Week! Enjoy a 3-course meal with your choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert for either $20.14 or $30.14. Click here to see a list of participating restaurants and their menus. For more information, contact Jennifer Flynn at

Saturday, November 15: Go green! It’s Paper Shredding Day for Monmouth County residents at Brielle Borough Hall (601 Union Lane) from 9am-1pm to get rid of old documents and confidential files safely. For more information call 732-683-8686, ext. 6721.

Saturday, November 22: The Manasquan Annual Turkey Run is here just in time for Thanksgiving. Runners can choose to run 1 mile or 5 miles for just $30 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under (special price if purchased before 11/9). For wave times and additional information, call 732-223-8303.

Friday, November 28: It’s time for Red Bank’s 20th Annual Holiday Concert & Tree Lighting Ceremony to kick off the the holiday season! Bring the whole family to enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays starting at 7pm. The Santa Express Train will go from Little Silver to Red Bank, followed by a parade from Red Bank Train Station down Monmouth Street, to end at the Holiday Express concert on Broad Street for the annual town lighting! For more information, call 732-842-4244.

Saturday, November 29th: Help rebuild the shore at Belmar’s 3rd Annual Freeze Out! This town-wide music festival will feature the best in local entertainment. The event will be held from 4pm-8pm with other activities following afterwards. This year for a $20 donation, you will receive two drink tickets and a food ticket (buffet will be held from 6pm-8pm) from participating bar/restaurants: Bar Anticipation, Boathouse Bar & Grill, Connolly Station, Jack’s Tavern, 507 Main @ Shark River, and Klein’s Fish Market & Waterside Cafe. For more information call, 732-681-3700 ext. 214. 

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the start of the holiday season!

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

Family HalloweenOctober is a “spooktacular” month full of fall festivals, gorgeous scenery, Halloween-themed activities, and tons of places to pick pumpkins and fresh produce to enjoy this wonderful season. Enjoy the last month of outdoor activities before the winter weather rolls in, and take advantage of these free and/or inexpensive festivities that are right here in Monmouth & Ocean counties!

Saturday, October 4: Join in on “Hollowgraves Haunted Manor,” New Jersey’s spookiest attraction at Keansburg Amusement Park! Families can enjoy rides, food & drink specials, costume contests and more throughout the day. For more information, call 732-495-1400.

The feel-good spirit of Highlands’ 14th ANNUAL Oktoberfest is modeled after the traditional Munich, Germany Oktoberfest with an emphasis on eating; drinking and being merry while providing something for everyone. Authentic German food, live music, dancing and other great entertainment will be part of the Highlands’ Oktoberfest celebration taking place in Veterans Park from 2-9pm. Admission and parking is FREE - the rain date is October 5th from 12-8pm. For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Last year The New Jersey Zombie Walk proved to the world that the Jersey Shore lives, breaking a Guinness World Record for gathering 9,592 “undead” zombies! Are you ready to stumble the streets of Asbury Park in the name of a zombie’s favorite thing….BRAINS? This year it’s Zombies vs. Brain Cancer! The 2014 New Jersey Zombie Walk will kick off “GREY MATTERS,” a campaign that spreads awareness about brain cancer. For times, details, facts, and registration visit the link above. For more information, call 732-775-7676.

Friday, October 10 & Saturday, October 11: Head on down to Allaire Village (Allaire State Park, Farmingdale) from 7:30-9pm for an interactive adaptation of the classic ghost story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with Neill Hartley. The special program will be held in the Allaire Chapel for just $15 per person. Advanced purchase recommended! For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Saturday, October 11: Ocean Grove’s Fall Festival and Craft Show is now a newly expanded, all-day street fair featuring over 180 arts and crafts vendors displaying and selling their wares just in time for the holidays. There will also be the live music of Jo Wymer from 11am-1pm and Chuck Lambert’s Blues Band from 1-4pm. The event includes FREE admission and a variety of food offerings, sidewalk sales, pumpkin painting from noon-3pm at The Starving Artist, and a close-up view of a fire truck and ambulance for the children. Come experience autumn in a small town – open to the public, rain or shine from 10am-4pm. For more information, call 732-774-1391.

Saturday, October 11 – Sunday, October 12: The 16th Annual Keyport Screamin’ Country Jamboree will turn downtown Keyport into a buzzing festival with live music, delicious food and a vast variety of vendors from 11am-6pm. With a Rockabilly twist, this street festival promises a fun and exciting shopping experience for all ages, families and friends – an event not to be missed! In its 16th year, the event is well loved and established in the Keyport community and surrounding areas, and is FREE admission to all. For more information, call 732-739-5138.

Friday, October 17-Saturday, October 18 (and Fri., 10/24 and Sat., 10/25): Get ready to scream on Allaire Village’s Haunted Hayride. Take a trip through the backwoods full of ghouls, ghosts, zombies and more. Rides start at 6pm and admission (includes Hayride and Village) is $15/Adult, $10/Children under 12 (group rates available for 25 people or over). Purchase tickets in advance by visiting the link above. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Sunday, October 18: Monmouth County residents can go green and have the opportunity to get rid of old documents and confidential files safely at Shred Day! Stop by anytime between 9am-1:30pm at Freehold Township’s Town Hall – open to the public and FREE to enter. For more information, call 732-683-8686, ext. 6721.

Saturday, October 25: Dress up the kids for Ocean Grove’s Halloween Parade! The event is FREE to the public and children of all ages can strut their costumes to all parade-goers. Parents, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture these moments! There will be prizes for best-dressed children and pets, and the parade will be held in Firemen’s Park at noon followed by trick or treating downtown.  For more information, call 732-774-1391.

Friday, October 31: Kids can start their trick-or-treating this Halloween at the Jackson Premium Outlets! Costumed children 12 and under are invited to trick-or-treat at participating stores from 5-8pm. Visit the Information Center where they will provide candy and treats while supplies last. For more information, call 732-833-0503.

If you’re looking to get your “scare” on, click here to view a list of the best haunted and spooky activities throughout New Jersey. For other Jersey Shore fall events and activities, click here. ENJOY!

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

family august blogCan you believe this summer is almost over? June and July quickly came and went, so now it’s time to focus on spending the last month of good weather and beach days with your loved ones by your side. Carnivals, contests, movie nights and fireworks are only some of the family fun activities that are coming near to a town near you this month. Check out some more free or inexpensive activities below that you can enjoy with your family and friends.

Friday, August 1: It’s the 2nd Annual Beach Ball-A-Palooza! Head down to Ocean County Park in Lakewood Township from 5:30pm-8:30pm and enjoy kayaking and canoeing on the lake, live music from Jimmy and the Parrots, crafts and family fun games. Bring your beach blankets, sweatshirts, and chairs – and enjoy the party. This event is free and it’s the perfect way to bond with your family and friends! For more information, call 732-506-9090.

Saturday, August 2: From noon-6pm head on over to the Bayshore Irish Festival in Keansburg! This day long festival is free of charge and offers a variety of activities and entertainment for the entire family. It’s encouraged that you make yourself comfortable and bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy a gorgeous summer afternoon. Local Irish musicians as well as Irish bands will be providing entertainment all day – including Celtic Connection from Philadelphia, and the always upbeat Narrowbacks from New York. You can also enjoy traditional Irish step dancing by the Shea-Jennings School of Irish Dance. This is one event you certainly do not want to miss!

Thursdays, August 7 – August 28: Enjoy a Firework Spectacular every Thursday throughout the moth of August at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk! Spend the evening wandering around the mile long amusement park and visit the aquarium, amusement park rides, arcades, mini-golf course, or the delicious food stands – before finishing the night with a fireworks show on the beach. It’s a free event that the whole family can enjoy – for more information, call 732-892-0600.

Tuesday, August 12: It’s the annual Seashell Decorating Contest! Come down to Seaside at 6pm and kids ages 12 and under will have the chance to participate. This contest is free of charge and prizes will be awarded to the kids with the best seashells! For more information, call 732-793-3700.

Tuesday, August 19: Celebrate a beautiful night along the Manasquan Inlet and enjoy good food, music, a car show, and more! The celebration is being held from 5:30pm-9pm. For more information, call 732-223-0544.

Wednesday, August 20: Looking for a relaxing family night on the beach? Head over to the North End Pavilion in Spring Lake and watch Finding Nemo! Admission is FREE and the movie begins 30 minutes after sundown. For more information, call 732-241-6038.

Saturday, August 30: What better way to spend a Saturday night than a Moonlight Hike! Head over to Island Beach State Park and for $5.00, take a hike around the beach and learn about plant and animal life. The hike ends with a bonfire, roasted marshmallows and a beautiful scenic view of the ocean! For more information, call 732-793-0506.

Have a great end of your summer!

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!