Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this December 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  With so many joyful and festive events happening this month, it’s definitely going to be hard to choose which ones to attend. Enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends – check out the many free or inexpensive activities happening this December in a town near you.  Happy Holidays from all of us at First Financial, and wishing you a prosperous 2019!

December 2 – 30: Magic of Lights at PNC Arts Center in Holmdel. Don’t miss a mile of festive and vibrant light displays, which celebrates the joy of the holiday season. Experience the drive through the comfort of your own car. Hundreds of sparkling lights – a must see! Sunday through Thursday times are dusk to 10pm and Friday & Saturday are dusk – 11pm (weather permitting). Purchase tickets online and learn more here.

December 7-8 & 14-15: Christmas Lantern Tours, Allaire Village in Farmingdale. The weather is cold, but the scent of Christmas is in the air! Come celebrate the holidays with a stroll through Allaire’s lantern lit village, and learn about Christmas in 1836! Advance ticket purchase is required for this event. Tickets are available for $20 per person. The tour lasts roughly 90 minutes and is an outdoor walking door, with various stops in our historic buildings along the way. Tours begin at 5:00pm and depart from the visitor center every 15 minutes until 8:00pm.  For details call 732-919-3500 or click here.

December 4: Downtown Freehold Tree Lighting from 5-7pm at the Hall of Records. Join DownownFreehold.com and Monmouth County for the Annual Tree Lighting. The Rock and Roll Choir will perform, The Court Jester will be providing hot cider, and Ray Catena Auto group will be helping to transport some of Santa’s elves. The Freehold Fire Department will also be stopping by with a special guest! Learn more here.

December 6: Annual Holiday Bazaar at Monmouth University (West Long Branch) from 9am-4pm at the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. Local vendors will be selling a variety of fun and unique products including jewelry, home goods, clothing, cookware and much more. The event is sponsored by the Global Experience Program – Monmouth University students who will be spending their winter, spring break and summer breaks volunteering in Haiti and Guatemala to aid the under-privileged. Proceeds from vendor table rentals will help support the organizations the students are working with. For more information, contact Corey Inzana at 732-923-4768 or click here.

December 8: Free Santa Photos at all First Financial Locations (Toms River, Neptune, Howell/Freehold). Sit with Santa from 9am-12pm! Each participating child will receive a free 4×6 photo in the mail, as well as the original image file will be sent to each parent/guardian. Register at your nearest branch here, or call 732-312-1500.

Community Christmas Concert at Georgian Court University (Lakewood). Starting at 7pm, celebrate the holidays with the music of the Georgian Court Community Chorale. This diverse group of men and women of all ages will perform a wide variety of classical, traditional, and popular seasonal favorites. The singers are accompanied by piano, flute, and stringed instruments. Cost is $15 for adults; $10 for seniors; FREE for students, children & GCU community members with ID. Call 732-987-2263 or learn more here.

December 8 & 9: Ocean Grove Victorian Holiday Festival House and Inn Tour. The Inns, Homes and Tents will be open for a self-guided holiday tour. Jitney services will be available to shuttle patrons. Tour tickets are $30 per person. Saturday evening, join the Ocean Grove community for a live nativity at 5pm in the Great Auditorium and Tree Lighting and Community Sing-a-long in Auditorium Square Park at 6pm. Other activities include exhibits at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove and the Ladies Auxiliary Christmas Boutique. Ocean Grove’s beautiful downtown will be bustling and decorated for holiday enjoyment! Learn more by calling 732-774-1391 or click here.

December 8, 15, 22: Classic Horse and Wagon Rides from 1-5pm in Red Bank. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season throughout Red Bank’s Business District with a FREE classic horse and wagon ride. Wagons can be boarded at 11 Bridge Ave or 26 Broad St. Learn more here.

December 9 & 16: Sunday Brunch with Santa at the American Hotel in Freehold from 10am-3pm. Bring your wish list and your appetite to The American Hotel’s Sunday Brunch with Santa! Enjoy brunch specialties and grab a photo with Santa too. Adults $38.00, Children $19.00 (12 years and under), 3 Years and under FREE. Reservations required (732) 431-3220 or click here for more information.

December 15 & 16: A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Algonquin Arts Theater in Manasquan. Performances take place on 12/15 at 11am and 2pm, and on 12/16 at 3pm. Each performance lasts approximately one hour. Tickers required for ages 2 and up.  Get more information and purchase tickets here.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Clause at Riverfront Park in Pt. Pleasant from 2-5pm. Come Meet Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause at the Herman Bennett Log Cabin at Riverfront Park. Free gifts and photos with Santa, train display and wonderful holiday décor, plus cookies and hot chocolate. This is a FREE event sponsored by the Point Pleasant Open Space Commission and Historical Society. Call 732-295-8850 or click here for more information.

December 23: A Very Electric Christmas at Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts (Ocean County College, Toms River).  Shows are at 3pm and 6pm, and tickets are $17 for adults and $10 for kids. Lightwire Theater, known for their signature brand of dazzling visuals, poignant storytelling and music designed to evoke imagery, “A Very Electric Christmas” will be available at OCC on 12/23 only. This captivating and magical tale of adventure, friendship and love, centers on a young bird named Max and brings a whole new meaning to coming “home for the holidays.” Call 732-255-0500 or click here for details.

December 31: Ring in the New Year at iPlay America in Freehold from 7:30pm-1am. Bring the entire family and enjoy a night of rides, party favors, live DJ, and giveaways! There will be confetti cannons at midnight as you watch the ball drop on 5 large screens. This party sells out fast so get your tickets soon! Advanced ticket purchase discounts are available online. Learn more here.

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this November 2018

It’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! Check out our list of free or inexpensive activities happening this month in a town near you. We hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

November 2 – 4: Allaire Village’s Stocking Stuffer Sale (Wall). The Allaire Auxiliary has been hard at work all year long making handcrafted items! Everything from ornaments to scarves, decorations, and more will be available for holiday gift purchases. There will also be a hand-sewn quilt raffle. The sale takes place from 10am-3pm on 11/2 and 11/3, and from 12pm-3pm on 11/4. Learn more here, or call 732-919-3500.

November 3: Thanks4Giving Plunge (Asbury Park) is featuring your chance to take a chilly dip in the Atlantic Ocean to benefit 25,000 Special Olympics athletes in NJ. The fundraiser begins at 11am with registration, and the plunge starts at 1pm on the Asbury Park Boardwalk (Grand Arcade of Convention Hall). Register online and learn more here.

Awesome Autumn Fun at Jakes Branch Park (Beachwood) from 1-4pm. Celebrate the Fall season with a hayride through nature trails, Fall games, paint a pumpkin, enjoy hot apple cider, make crafts, and there will be a petting zoo for kids. Get more information by calling 732-281-2750 or visit http://www.oceancountyparks.org/

November 9: Thanksgiving Paint Party at Mama Bear’s Play Café (Holmdel) from 6:30-9pm. Create a “give thanks” painting on an 11×14 canvas. There will be holiday music, trivia, and prizes too! Cost to attend is $30, and tickets can be purchased online here. The registration fee includes paint supplies and holiday confections.

November 10: Fall Craft Show (Eatontown) at Ft. Monmouth Recreation Area from 9am-1pm.  Shop for those special gifts from 50+ unique, quality craft vendors just in time for the holidays! Free admission and parking.  For more information, call 732-542-1642, ext. 31 or click here.

November 10 & 11: Fall Finale Food Truck Festival at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Don’t miss the finale to the Laurita food truck season! There will be food trucks galore, family activities, and fireworks on Saturday night. Firepits will also be available all weekend, and live bands will be playing as well. Admission is $8 per person, and those under age 21 are free. Discounted tickets are available online at www.lauritawinery.com or call 609-758-8000 for more details.

November 21: Bake Sale at Allaire State Park (Wall) from 10:30am to 2:30pm. The Historic Village at Allaire’s Bakery will be hosting a Holiday Bake Sale for the Thanksgiving Season. Pre-order your favorite crumb cake or tea bread to bring home to your family or a loved one.  Baked goods must be pre-ordered and are available for pickup on November 21st  between 10:30am-2:30pm. Learn more and pre-order your baked goods here or call 732-919-3500.

November 22: Ice at the Pier (Pier Village, Long Branch) begins for the winter season from 4-9pm. From Thanksgiving to Presidents Day, visitors lace up their skates and twirl away by-the-sea at Pier Village’s iconic Ice Rink. Here you’ll find residents and visitors alike skating in the heart of Pier Village’s beautifully decorated community, exciting shops and restaurants. Adult skating price is $14, kids and seniors are $10, and skate rentals are $4. Learn more here.

November 28: Jersey Shore Premium Outlets Tree Lighting (Tinton Falls) from 5-7pm at Sand Castle Court. Help count down to the lighting of the tree with special visitors including Elsa and Olaf from Frozen. Children can enjoy complimentary face painting, hot chocolate, music, a dance performance, DJ and more.  At 6pm everyone can help welcome Santa as he makes his grand entrance from the North Pole! This event is free to attend. Learn more here.

November 29: Holiday Wreath Workshop at The Creativity Lab (Main St., Belmar) from 6-8pm. Get in the holiday spirit by making your own handmade fresh holiday wreath with Amber & Earth! The cost is $40 to participate, and you’ll get fresh winter greens, floral wire, a wreath frame and more. Don’t forget to bring a pair of garden shears and the event is also BYOB. Learn more and register here.

 

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this October 2018

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!

October 5: Scary Rotten Farms in Brick (Brick Blvd) is holding haunted tours every Friday and Saturday in October starting at 7pm. Don’t miss the carnival of chaos, haunt combo packages and more. Call 732-477-0606 for information or visit http://scaryrottenfarms.com/index.shtml to purchase tickets online.

October 6:

Allaire Village Fall Craft Market, Wall. From 10am to 4pm, artisans and crafters line the winding paths of Allaire’s historic village. Over 70 craft and art vendors, with food service (including the Allaire Bakery), general store, children’s games on the village green, and historic buildings will be open with various blacksmith, tinsmith, carpentry, leather-making, and other interactive demonstrations. $3 per adult (Children 12 and under are free), and FREE Parking! Learn more here, or call 732-919-3500.

Ocean Grove Fall Harvest Festival and Craft Show. From 10am-4pm on Main Avenue, Pilgrim Pathway, and Auditorium Square Park (rain or shine), you’ll see over 90 arts and crafts vendors, sidewalk sales, pony rides, live music, pumpkin painting, and a variety of food.  Learn more by calling 732-774-1391 or at https://www.oceangrovenj.com/

Asbury Park Zombie Walk. From 4-8pm at Convention Hall, don’t miss the largest gathering of zombies in the world! You’ll also enjoy festivities, music along the boardwalk, and a blood red fireworks show along the oceanfront. To start the festive day even earlier, participate in the zombie costume contest on the boardwalk at 3pm to win cash prizes. Learn more by clicking here.

October 7:

Belmar Octoberfest. From 11am-5pm on Main Street and 8th Avenue in Belmar, you’ll get to experience antiques and crafts for sale, performers, a pumpkin decorating contest, a local food court, pony rides, and a kid’s obstacle course and games. Learn more at http://www.visitbelmarnj.com/ or call 732-681-3700 ext. 214

Pier Fest 2018, Long Branch. From 12-5pm in Pier Village, experience live music, vendors, crafters, kids’ activities (inflatables and the fun bus), delicious food, and more. The event will be held rain or shine. See more details at http://www.pierfest.com/ or call 732-245-0412.

October 13: Matawan Day and Fall Festival. On Main Street in Matawan from 12-5pm you’ll see over 120 crafters/artisans, retailers, food vendors, and non-profit organizations. Rain date will be October 14th from 12-5pm. For more information call 732-290-1125 or visit this link.

October 19, 20, 26, 27: Haunted Allaire, Wall. From 6-9:30pm, don’t miss Haunted Allaire Village’s spooky hayrides, story telling, ghost hunting and more! Adult tickets are $15 each and kids up to age 12 are $10 each. Advanced ticket purchase is required. Buy tickets online here or call 732-919-3500 for more information.

October 20:

A Taste of Spring Lake Kitchen Tour. Don’t miss this self-guided tour experiencing the charm of Spring Lake! Sample delicious cuisine from local top chefs. Get inspired by the creative talents of interior designers and stores. The tour takes place between 10:30am-3pm, rain or shine and is a fundraiser for the HW Mountz Elementary School PTA. This event always sells out, so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance at https://www.springlakekitchentour.com/

Boo at the Boardwalk (Jenkinson’s, Pt. Pleasant) from noon to 4pm. Don’t miss trick or treating, crafts, games, a pumpkin patch, beach maze, pumpkin derby and more! Call 732-892-0600 for details or click here. *Additional dates are 10/21, 10/27, and 10/28 also from noon to 4pm.

Oktoberfest at Laurita Winery (New Egypt) from 11am-9pm. There will be food trucks galore, three bands, firepits, family activities, and fireworks at night! $8 per person admission, and under 21 are free. Purchase tickets online at www.lauritawinery.com or call 609-758-8000.

October 27:

Sandy Hook Spooky Walk from 7-9pm at Gateway National Park. Get into the Halloween spirit with a moonlight walk around Historic Fort Hancock, where ghosts have been known to linger. After the walk, participants can gather at Littoral Society headquarters for cider and fall snacks. Call 732-291-0055 for more information and to reserve a spot, or click here.

Trunk or Treat in Ocean County Park (Lakewood) begins at 7pm. Individuals, businesses and non-profit groups decorate trunks for trick or treating in the park. This is a free community event. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated trunk and for the best costumes. Call 732-506-5122 for details or visit www.oceancountyparks.org

October 28: Long Branch Fall Festival and Pooch Parade. Don’t miss crafters, kids’ costumes and activities, bouncy rides, a costumed pooch parade and more from 11am-4pm in Pier Village. Free admission. Learn more here or call 732-222-0400.

4 Family Dates for $20 or Less

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to create memories for your little ones. September is a beautiful month for some outdoor family fun with gorgeous weather. There are plenty of options to enjoy a family date on a budget. Here are some great September weekend family fun ideas:

Beach Picnics and a Movie

In Monmouth and Ocean Counties, we all know the best kept secret once Labor Day has passed – local summer! Take some time to pack up and stick your toes in the sand. Bring some beach toys, get on Pinterest for some DIY beach games, and don’t forget the sunblock.

$15 for picnic fixings at the market
$5 for an Amazon or iTunes Rental

Playground and Frozen Yogurt

Watching your kids play tag with some new friends or bolster up their confidence on the “big kid slide” is completely free. For an added zing, check out Yelp or Google and search the best parks in your area and explore some new ones.

$10 for gas
$10 for frozen yogurt after the park

Secondhand Shops and Board Game Night

Thrift shops are a great spot to pick out an inexpensive “new to your kids” toy or two. After visiting a few shops, pick up a cheap board game, head home, and play a family game of Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders.

$10 for thrifty items
$10 for a board game

Book Store and a Walk

Reading to your children is one of the best ways to teach them to use cognitive skills. Book stores are typically happy to accommodate parents who enjoy taking their kids out for some reading (check out the local library too!).

Spend about 20-40 minutes reading together as a family. At the end of the date, buy a new book to take home and then head over to a beautiful setting (beach, park, etc.) to enjoy a walk.

$8 for a new book
$6 for snacks
$6 for gas

As you can see, you can create great family memories and save money on activities at the same time. Happy bonding!

Article Source: Jeremy Hartley for moneyning.com

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this September 2018

Summer is officially winding down and the kids are heading back to school for another year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of great inexpensive events happening near you. Check out the list of activities that are kicking off the fall season. Enjoy!

September 1 – 3: Monmouth Park Racetrack’s (Oceanport) BBQ and Craft Beer Festival from 11:30am to 5pm all Labor Day Weekend! Don’t miss three days of delicious BBQ and a great selection of brews in Monmouth Park’s Craft Beer Garden. Admission and parking are just $5 each, and children 12 and under are FREE. For more information, click here or call 732-222-5100.

September 2: Asbury Park Fresh Farmer’s Market from 10am-3pm. This summer event will bring together the greatest collection of homegrown artisan food products, local produce, and handmade crafts in the region. Don’t miss out on an excellent opportunity to try something new while also partaking in some healthy habits! The farmer’s market location is at Kennedy Park on Cookman & Grand Avenues. For questions and more information, visit here.

September 4: Gentle Sunset Yoga at Beyond Organic Growers (Freehold) at 6:45pm. All levels are welcome, cost to attend is $10. For more information, call 732-303-1515 or click here to register online. *Please note this is a weekly Tuesday night event throughout September!

September 7 – 9: Asbury Park Oysterfest (Bradley Park in front of the Historic Paramount Theater and Convention Hall). Don’t miss this 3 day culinary event! There will be food, music, crafts, and more. Admission is $3, and kids ages 6 and under are free. Call 732-775-7676 for details. Learn more here. 

September 8: Ocean Grove’s Giant Fall Flea Market from 9am-4pm. Around the Great Auditorium, spend your day with over 300 vendors selling new, used, and antique items as well as a variety of food offerings. This is a rain or shine event. For more information click here or call 732-774-1391.

September 8 & 9: Apple Fest at Delicious Orchards (Colts Neck). From 11am-4pm, don’t miss this great early Fall kickoff event! There will be games, prizes, live music, local food vendors, an antique car show, and EVERYTHING apple you can imagine. Learn more here, or call 732-462-1989.

September 9: Paws in the Park at Breakwater Beach (Seaside Heights) from 3-5pm. End the summer season with your dog at Breakwater Beach! Your furry friend will be able to paddle in the Harbor Wave Pool and play catch in the Minuteman Express Pool. Admission is $20 per dog, $10 per handler, and extra guests are $10 each, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the local SPCA. For more information about registration call 732-793-6488 or visit this website.

September 15: Point Pleasant’s Annual Festival of the Sea from 10am-7pm. This Seafood festival is held downtown on both Arnold and Bay Avenues. Local restaurants and vendors provide delicacies such as crab cakes, shrimp skewers, paella, soups and bisques, lobster, and other seafood items. Don’t like seafood? No problem, there are plenty of other varieties of food to sample! There are also hundreds of craft vendors featuring hard to find and unique items. For entertainment, there is a stage set up on the corner of Arnold and River Avenues. For more information please call 732-899-2424 or learn more here https://www.facebook.com/events/1079663122199959/

Allaire Farm and Food Truck Fundraiser from 12-5pm at the Historic Allaire Village in Wall. Two great non-profit organizations are partnering to bring an amazing event to the Jersey Shore! The day will be filled with popular food trucks, live music, animals, history demonstrations, hayrides, and more, all held on the grounds of Allaire State Park. Advanced ticket purchase is highly recommended! Pre-Purchased Tickets are $8.00 each per person, $4.00 each for 12 years old and under. Parking is free and pets are welcome. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/events/312225732685584/ or call 732-919-3500.

September 15 & 16: Apple Festival at Happy Day Farm (Manalapan) from 10am-5pm. Join Happy Day Farm for live entertainment, activities and attractions. They will have a variety of apples, fresh apple cider & donuts, fresh apple pie, candied apples, apple slushies, and more! FESTIVAL ADMISSION INCLUDES: 10-Acre John Deere Corn Maze, Pirate Ship, Pumpkin Guess Who, Tractor Rides, Timmy Town Zoo, Pig Races, Hay Mazes, Pumpkin Bowling, Corn Tunnel, Corn Box, Rubber Duck Racing, Horse Bouncers, Corn Hole, Tire Mountain, Pedal Carts, Bean Bag Toss, Tetherball, Spider Web, Bridge Observation, Horse Swings and more. Admission (cash only) is $14 and kids 2 and under are free. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/events/1406681032797268/ or call 732-977-3607.

Belmar’s Feast of San Gennaro from 11am-5pm on September 15th and 16th. Be sure to visit Main Street for delicious Italian food, games, and live entertainment. Get the scoop here, or call 732-681-3700 x214.

September 16: Waterfront Brunch Buffet at MJ’s at Buttonwood Manor (Matawan) from 11am-2pm. Don’t miss a fun Sunday brunch with your loved ones. Enjoy a diverse buffet with hand-carved roasts, a made to order omelet station, an assortment of dishes and salads, and display of delicious desserts. Each adult entrée starts at $27.99 and includes all you can eat as well as a complimentary mimosa or bloody Mary. Children under 12 are $13.99. Call 732-566-6220 to reserve your spot today or learn more here!

September 22: Allaire Fall Festival from 11am-4:30pm in Wall. A must see event on the Jersey Shore, join the villagers in celebrating the harvest and try your hand at cider pressing, apple snap, militia demonstrations, old fashioned games, dancing, and much more! Additionally there will be blacksmithing, carpentry, tinsmithing, and hearth cooking demonstrations throughout the day. The Bakery and General Store will be open for you to visit. Check out vendors selling mums, vegetables, and other seasonal items. General Admission: $5 Adults / $3 Kids Ages 5 -12. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/events/1809252989095006/ or call 732-919-3500.

September 22 & 23: Annual ‘Que by the Sea BBQ Festival and Competition (Seaside Heights). This event features a BBQ lover’s weekend packed with mouth-watering specialties along with all day musical entertainment, artists and crafters, a kids zone, and the annual BBQ Competition on Grant Avenue. Saturday hours are 11am to 9pm and Sunday is 11am to 6pm. Entry into the event is free, for more information click here.

September 23: Bullock Farms Fall Fest (Cream Ridge) from 10am-6pm. Come spend the day on this 100 acre farm and celebrate the Fall season. Bring the whole family for pumpkin picking, hay rides, mazes, live music, delicious food vendors, and more! Bullock Farms is home to New Jersey’s only farm brewery, Screamin’ Hill Brewery. Stop in during your visit to sample some amazing craft beer grown and brewed right on the farm. Save a few dollars on admission by purchasing your tickets online early! Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/events/288930748538338/ or call 609-758-8726.

September 29: Annual Downtown Spring Lake Italian Festival from 12-5pm. Morris Ave from 3rd to 4th Avenues will become an Italian Village featuring live music, Italian food, a wine and beer garden, kids activities, and more. See additional details at http://springlake.org/italianfestival or call 732-449-0577.

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this August 2018

Happy 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!

August 1: Asbury Park Beach Bonfire from 8pm-midnight. Every week through the summer, Asbury Park will be having a free bonfire open to anyone who wants to come. All you need is a blanket or some chairs, and you’re set! There’s no better way to cool down after a long day in the sun. Bring a group of friends or your whole family for a soothing night out on the shore.  Exact locations will alternate between Third, Fifth, First, and Sunset Avenue Beach. Get more details at http://apboardwalk.com/bonfires-on-the-beach-in-asbury-park/

August 2-5: Highlands Annual Clamfest at Huddy Park on Bay and Waterwitch Avenues. Don’t miss this 4 day action packed event featuring the freshest seafood from local restaurants, live entertainment, rides, games, and more. Admission and parking are free, and the event takes place rain or shine. Clamfest begins at 6pm on Thursday and Friday, and 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday. Learn more here or call 732-872-1224.

August 3: Beach Camping on North Beach (Seaside Heights) begins at 7pm and ends at 6am on August 4th. Under the stars beach camping, one of the summer’s most popular events! Online pre-registration is required. Participants are invited to bring their own tent and camp overnight in the designated section of the beach. This is a family-friendly event. Learn more here.

August 4: Blood Drive and Free Shred Event at First Financial’s Corporate Office Parking Lot in Freehold/Howell.  The event begins at 9am and is open to the public. The blood drive will be held from 9am-1pm and the Central Jersey Blood Center mobile unit will be on site. Planet Shred will be on site collecting shredding from 9am-12pm, and there is a limit of 5 boxes/bags per person. Advanced registration for blood donors is preferred and can be completed online here. Learn more about the day here, or call 732-312-1500. Blood donations for our local hospitals are needed most in the summer, help save lives in our community!

Monmouth Park Racetrack Italian Festival (Oceanport) from 11:30am-5pm. Bring your family and friends to savor delicious Italian food, listen to live music from Metropolitan Festival Band, visit Italian crafters, and enjoy a day of racing! Stop by one of the bocce courts and have a family-friendly game. For only $10, enjoy 5 two-ounce samples of Italian wine and receive a commemorative wine glass. General parking is $5 and admission is $5, kids 12 and under are free. Learn more here or call 732-222-5100.

August 5: A Taste of History, Ice Cream at Historic Walnford (Upper Freehold). Starting at 3pm, gather in the shade of the ice house to learn about this frozen treat while you help crank and then sample several flavors of ice cream prepared from 19th century recipes. Free family fun and cool history all in one! Learn more here, or call 609-259-6275.

August 8-12: Ocean Township’s Annual Italian Festival from 5-11pm at Joe Palaia Park on Whalepond Road. There will be bands every night, fireworks, a 50/50, delicious Italian food vendors, and rides. For more information please email: infoiaato@gmail.com or call 732-517-1040. Learn more at http://iaato.com/festival/

August 9: Kite Festival at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk (Pt. Pleasant). For the first time ever at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, this is not your traditional kite night! Take the family to be amazed by the Jenk’s kite festival. Watch large, detailed and creative kites flying through the sky. To learn more call 732-892-0600 or go to https://jenkinsons.com/event/kite-festival/

August 15: Free Summer Movie on the Beach at Pier Village (Long Branch). Charlie and the Chocolate Factory begins at dusk. Pier Village is bringing back Hollywood Films at their Outdoor Cinema on Festival Plaza every Wednesday through Labor Day.  Make your reservations today at one of the many restaurants featuring al fresco dining for a prime dinner and a movie viewing spot, or bring your favorite chair and blanket and relax on the grassy plaza under the stars. Learn more here or call 732-923-0100.

August 16: Fresh Farmer’s Market (Bradley Beach). From 5-9pm at Ocean and 5th Avenues in Bradley Beach, don’t miss this great farmer’s market! Now one of the biggest farmers markets in their region, Fresh Markets has set out to bring you the best of locally grown produce, artisan foods, and homemade crafts. There is bound to be a little bit for everybody. Learn more here.

August 18-19: Food Trucks at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). End the summer at this amazingly fun food truck event, starting at 11am each day. Don’t miss the fireworks Saturday evening! There will be fun family activities and three bands each day. Cost is $8 per person/under 21 are free. For more information call 609-758-8000 or visit https://lauritawinery.com/

August 21: Eat, Putt and Play at Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach (Seaside Heights). Purchase a $26 package and gain access to Wacky Rooftop Golf, 2-hour Pier Wristband for rides (excludes Go-Karts, Skyscraper, Sky Ride, and SkyCoaster). Includes 1 cheese pizza slice and 1 medium fountain soda.  To learn more call 732-793-6488, or visit their website at https://casinopiernj.com/promotions-events/.

August 25: Free Movies on the Beach (Belmar). Don’t miss Paddington starting at 8pm on the beach in Belmar at 8th Avenue. Come out with blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy the cool ocean breeze while your kids relax to some of their favorite movies. Learn more by calling 732-681-3700 or click here.