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

Colorful pumpkins at the farmer market.

It’s officially fall – and October is one of the best and most beautiful weather months in New Jersey. Get the family ready for an action-packed month filled with fun fall and Halloween activities. Check out these free or inexpensive events happening in a town near you!

All Weekends in October: Nightmare at Gravity Hill Haunted Trail – Cicconi Farms (Jackson).  As you enter the gates of Gravity Hill, the nightmare begins. Find over a dozen different scenes on over 5 acres: 35 minutes of spine chilling walkable haunted trails plus creepy themes and adventures – wear comfortable shoes. Cost is $20 per person.  For more information call 732-703-4198 or visit

October 1: Spring Lake Columbus Day Italian Festival and Art Walk – Enjoy 8 hours of music, food, wine/beer, art, and fun for the entire family from 12pm to 8pm. The event takes place on Third and Morris Avenues, and will be held rain or shine. For more information contact the Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce at 732-449-0577 or visit

October 1: Asbury Park Annual Zombie Walk – This walk holds the record for the world’s largest gathering of zombies! Enjoy festivities and music taking place through downtown and along the boardwalk, then end your day with a “blood red” fireworks show along the oceanfront. The walk starts 4pm at Convention Hall to Cookman Ave and Main St., and will be held rain or shine. For more information click here.

October 6: Downtown Toms River Art Stroll from 4pm to 7pm. The Art Stroll will consist of artists of all genres who will set up and sell their work on the sidewalks along Main St. & Washington St. For information call 732-341-8738 or visit

October 7 & 8: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at Historic Allaire Village (Wall) – Come join the interactive adaptation of the classic ghost story; advance ticket purchases are recommended ($20 per person). The event takes place from 7:30pm to 9pm each night.  For more information call 732-919-3500 or visit

October 7, 8, & 9: Italian Street Festival in Seaside Heights – Friday through Sunday, featuring performances from Italy. Friday hours are from 4 to 10pm, Saturday 10am to 10pm, Sunday from 10am to 8pm. Savor a weekend of delectable Italian specialties, arts and crafts, outstanding entertainment, and a parade that is bound to delight young and old alike. For details call 732-477-6507 or click here.

October 9: Belmar Oktoberfest – Join the fun for German food, music, stein hoisting, pumpkin decorating, performers and much more! The event takes place on Main Street (between 8th & 10th Avenues) from 11am to 5pm, with free admission and parking.  For more details call 732-681-3700 ext. 214 or visit

October 10: Pumpkinfest at Delicious Orchards (Colts Neck) – Bring the family for live music, food samples, pumpkin painting, antique tractors and more! The event takes place from 11am to 4pm and will be held rain or shine. For more information call 732-462-1989 or visit

October 14 & 15 and 21 & 22: Forest of Fright at Allaire Village (Wall) – In the dark of the night, the ghosts, ghouls, and monsters fill the haunted village. Admission includes: Haunted Hayride, Mr. Allaire’s Home, and the Haunted Village itself – enter if you dare! Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone – for a group rate of 25 or more, call the office at 732-919-3500. Adult tickets are $15, children under 12 are $10 – visit . You can arrive any time between 6pm and 9pm to take the hayrides and explore the haunted village. The last hayride is at 9:30pm.

October 22 & 23: Food Trucks and Fire Pits at Laurita Winery (New Egypt) – Don’t miss this great fall event! Cost $8 person and kids12 and under FREE (includes parking, shuttle service and entrance). For more information call 609-758-8000 or visit

October 29: Howl-o-Ween Festival (Bradley Beach). Furry friends should enjoy Halloween too! Attend a dog fest, live music, and vendors – 12pm to 3pm at Riley Park.  For more details call 732-776-2999 or visit .

October 29: Rocky Horror Picture Show at Algonquin Arts Theater (Manasquan). The show begins at 8pm, for more details call 732-528-9211 or to purchase tickets online go to .

October 29 & 30: Haunted Wine Walk – 4JG’s Vineyard (Colts Neck). Enjoy a tasting and self-guided haunted walk between 12pm and 5pm. For more information call 908-930-8066 or visit

Have a great October and Happy Halloween!

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

Family-Running-433x279Summer 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!

Saturday, September 3 – Monday, September 5: Monmouth Park’s (Oceanport) annual BBQ & Craft Beer Festival is back for three mouth-watering days! Come celebrate the juiciest, most tender BBQ the Jersey Shore has to offer and wash everything down with a great selection of brews in the Craft Beer Garden from 11:30am-5pm. It’s just $10 for 10, 2-oz samples and there will be over 40 craft beers to choose from. PLUS, enjoy everything from fall-off-the-bone ribs, to tender pulled pork, to melt-in-your-mouth brisket. Add in live music all holiday weekend long, three days of craft beers, and three days of heart-pounding Thoroughbred action – there’s no better place to be with friends and family than at Monmouth Park Racetrack on Labor Day Weekend. For more information, call 732-222-5100.

Saturday, September 3 – Sunday, September 4: Head on over to Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) for a weekend of good beer, food, and amazing music. Enjoy an amazing beer tent, food trucks with bacon-themed items, craft vendors, live bands, children’s activities, and tours of the historic buildings – there will never be a dull moment! Allaire loves to keep their history theme going with displays of historic bikes and motorcycles. The event is 11am-5pm with the ‘last call’ for drinks at 4:45pm and admission is $8 for adults – tickets can be purchased in advance (click the link above) or at the door. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11: The Annual Asbury Park Oysterfest is back and better than ever! What’s the perfect recipe for a cool weekend in the hottest town at the Jersey Shore? Start with fresh seafood and other culinary delights, add a dash of music, and a pinch of surprises – and you have Asbury Park’s Oysterfest, a three-day culinary event you don’t want to miss. This year’s event will be held just outside the iconic Carousel building where the downtown meets the Asbury Park waterfront. Admission is $3 and the hours are Friday: 5pm – 10pm, Saturday: 11am – 10pm and Sunday: 11am – 6pm. For more information, call 732-775-7676.

Saturday, September 10 – Sunday, September 11: The 41st Annual NJ Friends of Clearwater Festival will be held from 11am to 7pm on Saturday and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday at Brookdale Community College (Lincroft). It is the oldest and largest environmental music festival in the state, so bring the family and some chairs and spend the day listening to music while visiting some great vendors! For more information, call 732-784-8547.

Each year, Delicious Orchards’ Apple Fest (Colts Neck) gets bigger and bigger! Attendees will enjoy a full antique car display (over 40 cars ranging back to the early 1900’s), fun games, local vendors offering delicious product samplings, farm animals, a clown, live music, and of course plenty of apple options including more than a dozen varieties, Delicious Orchards’ famous apple cider, seasonal apple ice cream, apple flavored cotton candy and made on site apple fritters are always a huge hit. You won’t want to miss this! For more information, call 732-462-1989.

Saturday, September 17 – Sunday, September 18: Zeppolis, Italian sausage and crispy calamari OH MY! Celebrate the proud Italian heritage on the Jersey Shore as part of the 5th Annual Feast of San Gennaro in Belmar. This year’s festival will feature delicious foods, live entertainment, music and dancing in the traditional feast way. The festivities kick off on Saturday with a Mass celebrated in Italian at St. Rose Church in Belmar, followed by the traditional procession of the Statue of San Gennaro to its place of honor on Main Street. Visitors can enjoy Italian treats, a wine & beer garden, eating contests, crafters, kids activities, dancing in the street and more. Stop by Saturday, from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm or Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. For more information, call 732-681-3700 ext. 214.

Saturday, September 24 – Sunday, September 25: The Asbury Park Fall Bazaar is a weekend celebration of local art, music, and summer in Asbury Park! The event will take place in the Grand Arcade of Convention Hall from 12pm-5pm. Enjoy local handmade artisan goods, live music & DJs, a bonfire, yoga & brunch, and beach camping overnight! This is an event you don’t want to skip – for more information, call 732-919-3500.

Sunday, September 25: Tons of Oysters, pints of Guinness, plus lighter beers and wine, live music, great food – it’s the Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival! This great time for everyone is fashioned after the 61-year-old Galway Oyster Festival celebrating the opening of the oyster season. From noon-7pm, this huge food and music festival will showcase Red Bank’s excellent restaurants and will also entertain thousands with great live music 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 2016

01_6-July_Boost-your-holiday-budget-this-summerHappy 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 2: It’s National Night Out! This community-building event promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. Check your township website for information on local National Night Out celebrations in an area near you.

Thursday, August 4-Sunday, August 7: The 22nd Annual Clamfest is coming back to the Highlands! Enjoy FREE admission and parking as well as fresh seafood, live entertainment, contests, rides, vendors, games, and so much more. For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Saturday, August 6: Gather with friends and family to celebrate the culture of Italy with authentic music, fun games for all ages, and of course delicious food at Monmouth Park’s (Oceanport) 1st Annual Italian Festival! Mark your calendars now to enjoy one of the most delicious cultures in the world. Parking and admission is just $5 – children 12 and under are always FREE. For more information, call 732-222-5100.

Wednesday, August 10-Sunday, August 14: Celebrate the Italian heritage and culture at Ocean Twp’s Annual Italian FestivalAdmission is FREE and discounted family ticket ride packages are available every night of the festival. The whole family can enjoy delicious food, games, vendors, contests, and of course thrill-rides. The event is open from 5pm-11pm each night at Joe Palaia Park in Oakhurst. For more information, call 732-517-1040.

Sunday, August 21: Head over to Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) for one of the best antique car shows on the shore – the 21st Annual Rolling Iron Antique Auto Show! With over 200 historic cars you have a chance to see everything from firetrucks to family cars, motorcycles to classic cars – plus, so much more! Event will be open from 8am-3pm. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Saturday, August 27: This is an event you won’t want to miss! Rock the Farm is a premier music and food truck festival at Brookdale Community College (Lincroft). From 1pm-10pm, family and friends will enjoy great food, live music, rides, petting zoo, vendors, and so much more. All proceeds from the festival benefit CFC Loud n Clear Foundation, an organization that promotes positive life choices by aiding drug recovery efforts and inspiring a healthy, positive lifestyle. CFC has helped over 5,000 families in New Jersey. For more information, click the link above!

Enjoy the rest of your summer! 

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

fireworks-3It’s time for some fun in the sun! Enjoy the beautiful weather and all the sights and sounds this season brings. Now is the perfect time to gather your family and friends to check out these free or inexpensive events in a town near you.

4th of July Celebrations:

Saturday, July 9: Remember when you were a kid and you used to run around outside with your friends climbing trees, jumping in puddles, playing tag, and just plain having fun? Well, Rugged Maniac at Raceway Park (Englishtown) is simply an adult version of that! Enjoy 25+ epic obstacles for you and your friends to play on (like fire jumps, water slides, trampolines, and underground tunnels), put them in a 3-mile course, and then throw a crazy party with plenty of fun and music. Click the link above to register today!

Wednesday, July 13: It’s July, and the sun is shining brightly on the beach in Belmar. It’s time to gather all your shovels, shake out your pails, bring your sunblock and creativity and head to the 18th Avenue Beach in Belmar for the 30th Annual NJ Sandcastle Contest (rain date is July 14th). Bring friends and family for tons of fun under the Belmar sun, with prizes, games, dancing and more! Registration begins at 8am at the 18th Avenue Beach, with free admission to the beach for the event and judging begins at noon. Be sure to check out unique arts, jewelry and wares from local crafters on the beach! For more information, call 732-681-3700 ext. 214.

Wednesday, July 13-Sunday, July 17: Get the family ready for the 14th Annual Freedom Fest State Fair at the Horse Park of New Jersey (Allentown)! Guests can enjoy attractions and games as well as great fair food and picnic grounds. There will be a variety of exciting activities including a magic show, live animals, racing pigs and much more – bring the whole family for a fun experience. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $15 and there is a pre-sale at participating Walgreens for $10 per ticket starting June 14th. One ticket will include: free parking, free rides (unlimited), free entertainment, free attractions, free admission for children under 36 inches! For more information, call 609-610-0910.

Saturday, July 16-Sunday, July 31: Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a story for the ages and coming to the Algonquin Theatre (Manasquan) stage this summer. This fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.” Various dates and show times available with tickets starting at just $20. For more information, call 732-528-9211.

Saturday, July 16 & Sunday, July 17: What better way to soak up the sun this summer than with an ocean-fresh lobster roll, followed by some clam chowder and coconut shrimp? With all the seafood you could imagine on the table, this two-day Surf & Turf Seafood Festival is all-new for Monmouth Park (Oceanport) and one you won’t want to miss! Be a part of the beginning of this seafood festival journey and enjoy your delicious summer treats with an ice-cold beer or a chilled glass of wine, while spending your weekend listening to live music, hanging out with friends or family, and getting your toes wet in some games and activities for all ages. Admission is just $5 and children under 12 are always free. For times and more information, call 732-222-5100.

Saturday, July 23:  The Blues and Brews Festival is back for another year in Asbury Park featuring jazz, blues, food, crafts, games, good company, and plenty of family fun. This FREE event will be held from noon to 8pm in Bradley Park. For more information, call 732-933-1984.

Wednesday, July 27-Sunday, July 31: Join in the fun all weekend long at the 42nd Annual Monmouth County Fair at East Freehold Showgrounds. This year’s fair includes a home and garden competition, live music, animal shows and exhibits, food, entertainment and all new rides. For times and other information, call 732-842-4000.

Have a great summer!

Things to Do in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this June 2016

ThinkstockPhotos-109266507You can smell the freshness in the air, the warmth of the sun, and the grass between your toes – it’s almost summer! 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…

Friday, June 3 – Sunday, June 5: It’s Red Bank’s River Fest weekend where you and your family and friends will experience a world full of endless fun! The Garden State Craft Brewers Beer Cafe and Brewmasters will be offering delicious culinary delights from local restaurants as well as from festival vendors with non-stop entertainment ranging from nearby to regional musicians! Enjoy free admission – for times and other information, call 732-741-0055.

Thursday, June 9 – Sunday, June 12: Two River Theatre (Red Bank) proudly presents a production of Where the Wild Things Are. “Let the Wild Rumpus start!” This highly interactive show is a guided play experience, adapted from the timeless classic by Maurice Sendak. The audience helps transform Max’s bedroom into the various landscapes of his adventures as they sail along to the land of the Wild Things. This award-winning, internationally acclaimed production is best enjoyed by kids ages 3 to 7 and their parents/guardians.Tickets are just $25 each with various showtimes available. For more information, call 732-345-1400.

Saturday, June 11: Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) will be hosting their Late Spring Flea Market. Hunt for hidden treasures amid furniture, books, art work, bottles, knick knacks, and so much more! The event runs from 8am-3pm and admission is just $5 per vehicle. The village, general store, and bakery will be open as well. Please note that the rain date is June 12th. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Saturday, June 18: The Atlantic Highlands will be hosting their 8th Annual Atlantic Highlands Car Show. This family friendly event features 100+ beautiful cars, two stages of live music, vendors, local food places and boutiques, face painting and more! Come stroll lovely downtown Atlantic Highlands between 12pm-5pm to enjoy the show. Admission is free! For more information, call 732-872-8711.

Sunday, June 19: This year, continue the Jersey Shore family tradition and give Dad exactly what he wants on Father’s Day – a day with his family at beautiful Monmouth Park (Oceanport)! Dad’s first bet is free and all gentlemen receive a $2 betting voucher with paid admission to spend a day thanking all the amazing dads out there. Treat Dad to brunch in the Dining Terrace or bring a picnic and enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of Monmouth Park. You can also enter Dad to win tickets to his favorite local sports teams in our Father’s Day Sports Ticket Drawing. Enjoy great live music from Jersey Shore legends Tim McLoone featuring the Shirleys plus there’s FREE Family Fun Day activities for the kids. General parking and admission are both $5; and children 12 and under are always FREE! Gates open 11:30am, first race 12:50pm. For more information, call 732-222-5100.

Saturday, June 25 & Sunday, June 26: Bring the whole family to enjoy the Bradley Beach Lobsterfest! This FREE event will feature six (6) bands and DJs playing requests.
There will be over 150 craft and specialty vendors, a beer and wine garden, children’s activities including a water slide, rides, face painters and sand art and of course a great oceanfront location! For more information, call 732-869-1020.

Wednesday, June 29: The Garden Club of Spring Lake will be holding their Annual Seaside Garden Tour! Attendees will tour eight beautiful, unique seaside gardens between 10am-3pm. You will also enjoy refreshments on an historic Spring Lake porch while watching artists paint various garden scenes. All attendees can have lunch at several Spring Lake restaurants offering a 10% discount! Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 on the day of the tour. For advance tickets or information, call 917-579-6213.

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

campingactivitiesWoohoo – we can finally come out of our hibernation period and enjoy the sun! Don’t forget to take advantage of your local parks and enjoy a bike ride, a family hike, play basketball or even a have a quaint family picnic! It’s a 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.

Sunday, May 1: Asbury Park will be holding their 5th Annual Restaurant Tour! From noon to 4pm, check out over 25 different food and beer destinations featuring small bites, sampling, and demonstrations. Tickets are available online for just $35 a person – limited amount of tickets will be for sale on 5/1. For more information, call 732-775-7676.

Saturday, May 7: Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) will be hosting two great events on this day – for more information, call 732-919-3500:

  • Spring Craft Market & Art Fair: This craft show showcases local artists as they sell and demonstrate their crafts. The craft market includes handmade items of all varieties from paintings and photography to pottery, woodworking, textiles, and beyond. Stop by anytime between 10am-4pm – admission is just $2 for adults and children under 12-years-old and members are free.
  • Mommy and Me Tea Party: Celebrate Mother’s Day with this great event for all ages. Learn about the history of tea and how it shaped our lives – there will also be storytelling and a puppet show. Make sure to bring a fuzzy friend and a fun hat! Admission is just $5 for everyone 6 years and older. Admission to the Spring Craft Market is free with tea party tickets.

Saturday, May 14 – Sunday, May 15: One of the largest seafood festivals in the nation is back for their 30th annual celebration – the Belmar Seafood Festival! Enjoy great seafood, crafters, and live entertainment all weekend long – PLUS admission is FREE. For a list of vendors and more information, click the link above.

Saturday, May 21: Shop through fine art, handmade crafts and historical antiques to the backdrop of live entertainment and the beautiful waters of the Raritan Bayshore at Keyport’s 2nd Annual Antiques and Artisan Festival. Be sure to treat all your senses and enjoy the delicious work of the town’s lively bar and restaurant community too! Guests can enjoy this FREE event and can reserve a canvas from the Arts Society of Keyport, bring their own supplies and paint along the waterfront. A free trolley service will be running between the Aberdeen-Matawan train station and the festival from 11am – 6pm. Additional parking is available at the train station and is free on weekends. For more information, call 732-739-5138.

Sunday, May 22Ocean Fun Days is the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium’s annual public outreach event and this year it is being held at Sandy Hook Beach. This family friendly weekend is a great opportunity to learn about New Jersey’s coastal environment and how to act wisely to care for it. Celebrate the wonders of the Jersey Shore with hands-on marine exhibits, classes, nature tours and children’s activities. For more information, call 732-872-1300 ext. 19.

Saturday, May 28-Monday, May 30: Monmouth Park’s (Oceanport) Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival is back and bigger than ever for a total of 3 DAYS! 50 trucks have signed on to participate this year, so you won’t want to miss out on mouth-watering empanadas, juicy cheesesteaks, decadent cupcakes, ocean-fresh lobster rolls, Belgian waffle sundaes, just to name a few…there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone! Bring family, bring friends, come one day or come all three – parking and admission is just $5. For more information, call 732-222-5100.

We hope you have a great month and Memorial Day!