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

Outdoor Family Choosing Christmas Tree Together

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 2017!

Town Tree Lighting Ceremonies:

  • Belmar – December 2nd at 5:30-7pm, Pyanoe Plaza at 9th Ave & Main Street
  • Manasquan – December 2nd 6-9pm, Main Street (plus candy cane hunt!)
  • Highlands – December 2nd at 6pm, Huddy Park

December 2: A Christmas Carol at Count Basie Theater (Red Bank) at 8pm. To purchase tickets go to http://www.countbasietheatre.org/ or call 732.842.9000.

December 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18: Scrooge at the Spring Lake Theater, 300 Madison Avenue. Two shows per day at 2pm and 7:30pm. For details call 732.449.4530 or go to http://www.springlaketheatre.com/

December 3: Spring Lake Candlelight Christmas Inn Tour from 3:30pm to 7pm. Tour Spring Lake’s famous inn’s and B&B’s decorated in their holiday splendor, sponsored by the Historic Inns of Spring Lake NJ. For more information go to http://www.historicinnsofspringlake.com/ or call 732.449.9090.

December 3 – 18: Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar – Every Saturday and Sunday in December until 12/18 from noon to 5pm, gather for one of the most spectacular holiday markets in New Jersey! The Bazaar is located at the Grand Arcade of Convention Hall, 1300 Ocean Ave. For more details go to http://www.asburyparkbazaar.com/ or call 732.829.2663.

December 3 – 24: Holiday Horse and Wagon Rides (Red Bank).  Ride through the Red Bank Business District and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season every Saturday and Sunday in December from 1-5pm through 12/24. There are two start locations to choose from: 26 Broad Street or Bridge Avenue (across from The Galleria). For more information call 732.842.4244 or go to http://www.redbank.org/

December 3, 10, 16, and 17: Christmas Lantern Tours at Allaire Village (Wall) from 5-8pm. 90 minute tours leave every 15 minutes at Historic Allaire Village within Allaire State Park Rt. 524, 4265 Atlantic Avenue. For details go to http://www.allairevillage.org/ or call 732.919.3500.

December 9 and 11: Christmas at Havens Homestead Museum (Brick). 12/9 from 3-7pm and 12/11 from 1-5pm. The Brick Township Historical Society has sponsored this annual event for 19 years. It features the Havens Homestead Museum and two other buildings on the property decked in its festive best with guides dressed in period costumes. This year’s theme is “A Vintage Christmas.” Guests will enjoy homemade refreshments and musical entertainment as they tour the rooms of this 1827 Homestead. $5 per adult, children under 12 are free. For information call 732.785.2500.

December 10: 5th Annual Christmas on the Island & Parade, including Santa Claus from noon to 5pm. A Christmas Parade along the Boulevard in Seaside Heights. Event is open to all Ocean County, NJ residents with gifts, giveaways, Santa’s Workshop, and a special Santa’s send-off with live entertainment as Santa’s way back home to the North Pole is lit up.

December 10 and 11: The Nutcracker at Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, 1pm and 5pm. To purchase tickets go to http://www.countbasietheatre.org/ or call 732.842.9000.

December 10, 11, and 17: A Christmas Light Show (2702 Wooley Road, Wall), 6:30pm and 8:30pm. The Christmas Light Show is a free, world class computerized lighting and pyrotechnic show. Returning for its 11th year, this incredible event has become an area tradition. The show is very much like attending a Disney World concert, featuring pyrotechnics, fog, color changing effects and thousands of lights synchronized to music broadcast over a concert quality sound system. Don’t miss this one of a kind Christmas event in Monmouth County, NJ! For more information go to http://www.thechristmaslightshow.com/

December 11: Breakfast with Santa at iPlay America (Schanck Road, Freehold) at 9am and 11am.  For information call 732.577.8200 or go to http://www.iplayamerica.com/

December 11: The Nutcracker at Ocean County College (Lakewood), 1pm.  The performance will take place at Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts. This delightful ballet is a dream story brought to life through music and dance. The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, a young girl who’s magical journey begins with a Nutcracker doll and ends with the Land of Sweets. Along the way, you’ll meet the Mouse King, Flowers, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and a cast of enchanting characters.Tickets: Adult $12, Child $10. Call 732.255.0400 extension 2466 for information.

December 16, 17, 26, 27, 28: Jenkinson’s Sea of Lights at the Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant) from 6-9pm. Join Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant Beach as they light up the Boardwalk during Jenkinson’s Sea of Lights. This Holiday Lights Spectacular inside Jenkinson’s Aquarium is a real gift to your family at the special admission price of only $7. For more information go to http://jenkinsons.com/events/sea-of-lights-2016/

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

Family sitting on grass with pumpkins smilingIt’s time to kick off the start of the holiday season and there are so many great things to do with family and friends in the upcoming weeks to celebrate this special time of year! Just because it’s getting cold, it doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of “warming” outdoor activities to enjoy. Check out our list of free or inexpensive activities happening this month in a town near you. We hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

November 4 – 6: Allaire Village Auxiliary Stocking Stuffer Sale (Wall). You’ll find lots of stocking stuffer gifts ranging from ornaments to scarves, decorations, and everything in between. There is also a hand-sewn raffle quilt! The Stocking Stuffer sale is Friday November 4th and Saturday November 5th from 10am to 3pm, as well as Sunday November 6th from 12pm to 3pm. For more information call 732.919.3500.

November 5, 6, 8: Holiday in the Park at Six Flags (Jackson). This winter, the Santa tracker will lead right to Six Flags Great Adventure. Millions of glittering lights, dazzling holiday entertainment, delicious seasonal treats, Santa’s village, animals and many popular rides will magically transform the summer thrill destination into a winter wonderland. Cost is included with Season Pass or active membership. For more details call 732-928-2000 extension 2831 or click here.

November 6: Don’t forget to turn your clocks back – Daylight Savings Time ends!

November 11: Veterans Day Ceremony (Holmdel). 11am Veterans Day Memorial Ceremony at Exit 116 off the Garden State Parkway. For more details call 732.335.0033 extension 100.

November 11 – 20: A Christmas Story at Count Basie Theater (Red Bank). Come see the new musical version of the classic movie come to the stage for the holiday season. The story takes place in the 1940s in Indiana and focuses on a child named Ralphie, a daydreamer who spends his days counting down to Christmas. He wants a Red Ryder BB Gun, but as his parents and teachers warn him, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” All of the movie’s best-loved moments are here, and tickets range from $22-$32 – you won’t want to miss it! Call 732.842.9000 or visit http://www.countbasietheatre.org/events.asp to purchase tickets.

November 12: Monmouth County Park System’s Fall Craft Show (Tinton Falls). The event takes place from 9am-2pm at the Ft. Monmouth Recreation Center. See over 50 local crafters – the perfect event to get a head start on your holiday shopping! You’ll find soap, jewelry, home décor, candles, ornaments and more.  Call 732.542.1642 extension 31 for more information.

November 12 & 13: Laurita Winery’s Fire Pits, Food Trucks, and Fireworks (New Egypt). Don’t miss one of the best and most fun events in New Jersey – last one of 2016! Fun for the whole family. Check out LauritaWinery.com to uncork all the fun or call 609.758.8000. Cost is $8 at door and ages 12 and under free, the winery opens at 11am both days.

November 20: Six Flags 2nd Annual Santa Run 5K (Jackson). You don’t want to miss this one! Join at the North Pole for Six Flags Great Adventure’s Santa Run 5K. Registration includes admission into the park! The race also features the “Little Elves” sprint run for children ages 5-8 and 9-11. There’ll be snow, elves, and a special guest appearance by Santa to start the race. Spectators  – Watch the race at multiple points! Listen to great music, cheer for your favorites and spend the day with your family in the park. The run begins at 8:30am. For more information click here, or call 732-928-2000 extension 2831.

November 25-27: Holiday Wine Trail at JG’s Vineyard (Colts Neck). Relax at the vineyard from 12pm-5pm on a holiday weekend. For details call 908.930.8066.

November 26: Spring Lake’s Christmas Celebration Kickoff – Enjoy hayrides, music, dancers, holiday treats, and the Clayton Livery miniature village. Shops are open until 8 p.m.  For more information click here or call 732.449.0577.

Tree Lighting Ceremonies

November 26: Keyport 5pm, West Front Street Mini Park. Call 732.739.3900 for details.

November 27: Bradley Beach 4pm, Riley Park – Santa arrives at 5pm. Call 732.776.2999 for details.

 

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 http://nightmareatgravityhill.com/

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 http://www.springlake.org/italianfestival

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 www.downtowntomsriver.com

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 https://allairevillage.org/

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 http://www.visitbelmarnj.com/

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 http://www.deliciousorchardsnjonline.com/events/pumpkin-fest/

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 https://allairevillage.org/ . 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 www.lauritawinery.com

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 http://www.bradleybeachnj.gov/ .

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 http://www.algonquinarts.org/ .

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 http://www.4jgswinery.com/

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!