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

Happy 2018! We’re ready to kick off the new year with some wallet-friendly activities for your family and friends. So, break out that new calendar and pencil in these dates for some free or inexpensive events happening in a town near you this month.

January 14: Goldfish Swim School Grand Opening (Middletown). Fun for the whole family from 2-5pm! In addition to open family swim, there will be a balloon artist, arts & crafts, raffles, refreshments, and much more! This event is FREE and all are welcome. Learn more here.

January 21: See your favorite Marvel superheroes in action at iPlay America in Freehold at 11am! Watch Loki get revenge on the Avengers by casting a spell on Captain America to team up against Thor and the rest of the heroes. But there is a twist – they might not be able to conquer this mission without the help of the audience. Come help the Avengers rescue Captain America and defeat Loki. Buy tickets online here, or call 732-577-8200.

Jersey Shore Winter Comic Book Show at Toms River Elks. The event takes place from 10am – 4pm and different vendors, artists, writers, and costume groups will be present. $5 admission. Learn more at http://www.jerseyshorecomicbookshow.com/ or call 609-242-7756.

January 22: Taste of Long Branch from 5:30-8:30pm at Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant. There will be 16 restaurants preparing food and desserts and there will also be a cash bar. Tickets are $50 each. The event will be benefitting the Kay Guadagno Memorial Award & Scholarship Fund at Monmouth Medical Center. Register online here, or call 732-222-0400.

January 27: Winterfest at Thompson Park in Lincroft from 12-4pm. Celebrate winter with the whole family! There will be Cross-Country Skiing, Hands-On Activities, Wagon Rides, Arts & Crafts, Photo Opportunities, Living History Displays, Winter Sports Vendors, Food Vendors and more. Free admission and free parking. Learn more here, or call 732-842-4000 ext. 4312.

Winery Winterfest on January 27th and 28th from 11am to 8pm at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Bring the family and join the outdoor fun, featuring ice sculptures, a luge for all ages, food trucks and many family activities! $8 for adults 21+ and $5 for those ages 4-20. Call 609-758-8000 or visit www.lauritawinery.com

January 28: Annual Beef and Brew in The Highlands from 3-7pm. Proceeds will benefit the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Enjoy a buffet and refreshments at Off the Hook on Route 36. Get more details here, or call 732-291-4713.

We hope you have a happy and healthy new year!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this December 2017

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 2018!

December 1: Town Tree Lighting and Candy Cane Hunt in Manasquan. From 6-8pm join Manasquan’s tree lighting, caroling, music, candy cane hunt, and a visit from Santa! The event takes place in the business district. Learn more here or call 732-223-8303.

December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16: 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! Music, history and a little bit of theater, the Historic Village at Allaire should be your new (or continuing) Holiday Tradition. Advance Purchase Recommended. 90 minute tours leave every 15 minutes.  For details call 732-919-3500 or click here.

December 2: Spring Lake Candlelight Christmas Inn Tour. From 3:30-7pm, tour Spring Lake’s famous inn’s and B&B’s decorated in holiday splendor.  Learn more here, or call 732-449-0577.

A Christmas Carol at Grunin Center for the Arts, OCC (Toms River). Starting at 1pm, this musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol is the timeless tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge who hates Christmas. Shocked into action by visits from three ghosts that take him on a journey to the past, present, and the future; Scrooge discovers the true meaning of Christmas. The music and dancing of A Christmas Carol will help put everyone in the holiday spirit! Adults are $12, kids $10. Go to http://www.grunincenter.org/ or call 732-255-0500.

December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17: Garden State Central Model Railroad Club’s InfoAge Holiday Spectacular (Wall). Come see operating train layouts and displays. Santa will be there too! Noon to 5pm, adults are $7 and kids are $3. Admit one free adult when you bring a new, unwrapped toy. Learn more at http://www.gardenstatecentral.com/ or call 732-801-8054.

December 5: Downtown Freehold Tree Lighting. From 5-7pm, join in the town tree lighting at the Hall of Records. Learn about other Freehold holiday events such as breakfast with Santa, the Santa train, and caroling here or call 732-333-0094.

December 6: Ocean County Tree Lighting at the Ocean County Administration Building (Toms River). Starting at 4:45pm, celebrate with the Ocean County Freeholders and music by the Silver Bay Elementary School chorus, light refreshments will be provided. Learn more at http://www.oceancountytourism.com or call 732-929-2000.

December 9: 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.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus in Pt. Pleasant from 2-5pm! Free Gifts, great train display and holiday cookies and hot chocolate. The event takes place at the Pt. Pleasant Chamber of Commerce at River Road and Maxson Ave. Get details at http://pointpleasantchamber.com/ or call 732-295-8850.

December 9 and 10: Ocean Grove Victorian Holiday House and Inn Tour. Visit the inns and homes of Ocean Grove with a complimentary jitney around town, see the holiday bell ringers, tree lighting and caroling too. Get more details here, or call 732-774-1391.

December 16 and 17: Visit with Santa at Longstreet Farm (Holmdel). From 12-3pm, come to Longstreet Farm and enjoy an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas. Children can visit with Santa, then take a walk to the farmhouse and have a cup of cider. Be sure to bring your camera! For information, click here or call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312.

December 22 and 23: American Repertory Ballet presents The Nutcracker in Deal Park. At 2pm and 7pm, attend this beloved classic with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, thrilling choreography and a cast of more than 100 at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center. Buy tickets at http://www.axelrodartscenter.com/shows or call 732-531-9106.

 

 

2017 Holiday Toy and Gift Drive in All First Financial Branches

Holiday Greetings to all of our First Scoop Readers!

As we continue into the 2017 holiday season, First Financial will be partnering with local non-profit organizations to help families in need within Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Each branch will be holding a holiday toy and gift drive through December 2017:

Please click on the links above for more details. These gifts will be picked up at all First Financial locations on the dates listed above – so please be sure to return your gifts to your nearest branch before this date.

We are also continuing to collect non-perishable food items at each branch location until December 30th. Click here for more details.

Help brighten someone’s holiday this season and thank you for your continued support!

2017 Holiday Food Collection in all First Financial Branches

It’s the month of giving thanks, and all First Financial branch locations will be collecting non-perishable food items throughout the remainder of this year.

As we approach the 2017 holiday season, First Financial will be partnering with local non-profit organizations to help families in need within Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Our First Financial branches will serve as collection sites for non-perishable food items that will then be donated to the following non-profit organizations:

Toms River Branch: The People’s Pantry

    • The People’s Pantry is in need of cereal, soup, jelly, canned vegetables, and hygiene products for the 2017 holiday season.

Freehold/Howell Branch: Freehold Open Door Pantry

  • Open Door Pantry is requesting canned vegetable soups, pasta, tomato and pasta sauces, peanut butter and jelly, canned meat, canned tuna fish, canned fruit and fruit juices, rice, powdered milk, cereal, jarred baby food, baby formula, cake mix, pudding, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, pancake mix, and syrup.

Neptune Branch: Lunchbreak

  • Lunchbreak is requesting bottled water, juice, iced tea, rice, beans, pasta, oats, paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, diapers, snacks (pretzels, crackers, chips), baby formula, canned goods, soups, nuts, peanut butter and jelly, ketchup, mustard, cereal, granola bars, and boxed cake mix.
  • Lunchbreak is also collecting new or gently used clothing items: business casual attire, casual clothing for any season, plus sized clothing, baby/infant clothes, special occasion items, shoes, jewelry, and handbags.

Click on the links above to learn more about what each organization is requesting this year. Your donations can be dropped off at any First Financial branch location during business hours.

Please note that the final day for food collection at all branches will be on Saturday, December 30, 2017.

 Help brighten someone’s holiday this season and thank you for your continued support!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this November 2017

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 3-5: Stocking Stuffer Sale, Allaire Village in Farmingdale. From 10am to 3pm Friday and Saturday, and 12pm-3pm Sunday – come get a jump start on your stocking stuffers this year! There will be ornaments, scarves, decorations, and everything in between. For details call 732-919-3500 or click here.

November 5: Open Hearth, Open House at Covenhoven House in Freehold. From 12pm to 4pm on West Main Street, visitors will be transported back in time as costumed interpreters demonstrate how food was prepared in an eighteenth century open hearth kitchen. Featuring a rotating theme and menu, this program offers visitors the opportunity to learn about colonial foods cooked over the open hearth, then sample the results. Afterwards, enjoy a tour of the 1750’s home, illustrating what life was like for the Covenhoven family. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here or call 732-462-1466 x11.

November 9: Manasquan Ladies Night Out. From 4-8pm the Manasquan Chamber of Commerce invites you to kick off the holiday shopping season for a night of shopping (and some great food & drink). The walkable downtown district will be alive with holiday decorations, stores open late, great dining opportunities and a chance to take home some great prizes! Get the details at http://www.manasquanchamber.org/ or call 732-223-8303.

November 11: Late Fall Flea Market at Allaire Village in Farmingdale. From 8am-3pm hunt for hidden treasures amid furniture, books, art work, bottles, knick knacks, and so much more! $1 admission supports the Historic Village at Allaire. The village, General Store, and Bakery are open as well.  The rain date is November 12th. For information click here or call 732-919-3500.

November 11 and 12: Food Trucks and Firepits at Laurita Winery in New Egypt. Fireworks will take place on Saturday evening. $8 per person, and kids 12 and under are free. Discounted tickets are available online at www.lauritawinery.com or call 609-758-8000.

November 24: Holiday Express Concert, Parade, Santa Train, and Town Lighting in Red Bank. Take a train ride with Santa from Little Silver to Red Bank at 6:45pm and then see the town holiday lighting at 7pm at Broad and Monmouth Streets. For details, click here or call 732-842-4244.

November 25: Spring Lake Christmas Celebration Kickoff. Enjoy hayrides, music, dancers, and holiday treats. Shops are open until 8pm. Call 732-449-0577 or go to http://www.springlake.org/upcoming-events.

Celebrate the Season Marshmallow Roast in Beach Haven. From 4:30-8:30pm at Beach and Engleside Avenues, participate in a fun marshmallow roast to kickoff the holiday season. There is no entry fee. For details call 609-492-0111 or go to http://www.beachhaven-nj.gov/

November 26: Bradley Beach Tree Lighting. The event takes place at 4pm in downtown Bradley Beach at Riley Park. Santa arrives at 5pm. Find details at http://www.bradleybeachnj.gov/ or call 732-776-2999.

Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus at TGI Friday’s in Manahawkin. From 8am-10:30am kick off the holiday season with the Our Gang Players! Tickets are $10 per person and include pancakes, sausage, bacon and a beverage. Sit on Santa’s lap and have your picture taken, let him know what’s on your list, and get in the holiday spirit. There will also be home baked goodies and holiday treats available. Call 609-389-6033 for tickets or go to https://www.ourgang.org/

November 30: Complimentary Estate Planning Basics Seminar at First Financial in Toms River. It might not be something you want to think about, but estate planning is an important component of planning your retirement and the financial future of your family. Attend this complimentary 6pm session and learn about setting up your will, life insurance, trusts, and gift tax basics. Light refreshments will be served. Register online here, or call 732-312-1500.

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this October 2017

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 1: Pier Fest, Long Branch. From 12-4pm, this outdoor festival will feature sidewalk sales, vendors, live music, crafters, delicious food and kids’ activities! Festival Plaza at Pier Village, 1 Chelsea Avenue. For details call 732-245-0412 or go to http://www.pierfestnj.com/

October 6, 7, & 8: Italian Street Festival in Seaside Heights. Friday through Sunday, featuring performances from Italy. Friday  4 to 10pm, Saturday 10am to 10pm, Sunday 10am to 8pm. Savor a weekend of Italian specialties, arts and crafts, outstanding entertainment and a parade that is bound to delight young and old alike. 26th Annual Ocean County Columbus Day Parade at 1:00 pm Sunday on the Boulevard. Free admission. Go to http://www.exit82.com/ or call 732-830-3700.

October 7: Fall Craft Market and Art in the Park at Allaire Village (Farmingdale). From 10am-4pm the Historic Village at Allaire 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.  Admission to the craft market is $2 Adults, Children under 12 years old and members are free. For more information call 732-919-3500 or click here.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at Allaire Village (Farmingdale). Interactive adaptation of the classic ghost story from 7:30-9pm; advance tickets recommended. The performance takes place at the Allaire Chapel beginning at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 per person. Click here for information and to purchase your tickets online.

Asbury Park Zombie Walk at 4pm. The Annual Asbury Park Zombie Walk holds the record for the world’s largest gathering of zombies! Enjoy festivities & music taking place through downtown & along the boardwalk, and end your day with a “blood red” fireworks show along the ocean front. Walk starts at Convention Hall to Cookman and Main Asbury Park. Rain or shine event. For more details, click here.

October 8: Belmar Oktoberfest from 11:30am to 5pm. Join the fun for German food, stein hoisting, pumpkin decorating, performers and much more! Main Street (between 8th & 10th Aves.) Call 732-681-3700 ext. 214 or go to http://www.visitbelmarnj.com/

Manasquan Wine and Beer Festival from 12-4pm. Prepare to get busy with your inner wine (or beer) connoisseur. The Chamber is hosting their annual Wine and Beer Festival in downtown Manasquan at Squan Plaza. There will be plenty of great music and food and sample tastings and a keepsake Manasquan wine glass. Admission is $30, or $25 if you pre-order online at http://www.manasquanchamber.org/

October 13 & 14: Annual Waretown Haunted Hayride. 19th Annual Waretown Haunted Hayride sponsored by the Township of Ocean and Waretown Vol. Fire Company. 20 minute tractor ride around the “Haunted” Waretown Lake. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Adults $10 admission, children $8. Call 609-693-5407 or visit http://www.twpoceannj.gov/

October 14: Classic Car Show in the Atlantic Highlands. From 10am-4pm, come see the annual car show along First Avenue. Rain date is October 15th. Call 732-872-8711 or visit http://www.atlantichighlands.org/

October 15: Thompson Park Day in Lincroft. From 11am to 5pm, take place in a fun filled fall day! “Strutt your mutt” dog costume contest, scarecrow contest, pumpkin painting, wagon rides, food, crafts, and live entertainment. Newman Springs Road, Lincroft. Call 732-842-4000 or go to https://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/

October 20, 21, 27, and 28: Haunted Hay Rides at Allaire Village (Farmingdale). In the dark of the night, the ghosts, ghouls, and monsters fill the haunted village. From woods to historic homes the Historic Village at Allaire takes on a dark twist for the Halloween season. Admission includes: Haunted Hayride, Mr. Allaire’s Home, and the Haunted Village itself.  Enter if you dare! Tickets can be purchased online, for a group rate of 25 or more, call the office at 732-919-3500. Adult tickets are $15, children tickets, ages under 12, are $10. Tickets can be purchased at the door starting at 5:45 pm.

October 21: Bradley Beach Howl-o-Ween Festival and Parade. 12-3pm at Riley Park, free admission and live music. Learn more at http://www.bradleybeachnj.gov/ or call 732-776-2999.

October 21 & 22: Food Trucks and Firepits at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Food Trucks, Fire Pits and Fireworks (Saturday evening). Visit LauritaWinery.com for more details or call 609-758-8000. Cost $8 per person/ Kids 12 and under FREE. Discounted tickets online.

October 28: Ocean Grove Halloween Parade for children and pets. Begins at noon at Fireman’s Park on Main Avenue. For more details go to http://oceangrovenj.com/ or call 732-774-1391.

Trunk or Treat, Lake Shenandoah Park (Lakewood).  Individuals, businesses and non-profit groups decorate car trunks, vans or pickup beds and hand out treats. If you are interested in collecting treats, just come out in costume. All are welcome. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated trunk and for the best costumes. Free admission, 7 to 8:30pm. For more details call 732-506-5122 or go to http://www.oceancountyparks.org/

October 29: Annual Point Pleasant Halloween Parade at 1pm. Marching down Bridge Avenue to Point Pleasant’s Community Park since 1980 – this fun filled day has been a tradition among families of all ages. Featuring live bands, 10 + motorized and pull floats, categories for marching, judged costume contest. Trophies awarded at Community Park immediately following the parade. Ice cream for sale, free admission. Call 732-295-8850 or go to http://pointpleasantchamber.com/