2018 Holiday Toy and Gift Drive in All First Financial Branches

Holiday Greetings to all of our First Scoop Readers!

As we continue into the 2018 holiday season, First Financial is 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 2018:

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 collecting non-perishable food items at each branch location until December 31st.

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 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.

Small Business Spotlight: Nino’s Coal Fired Pizza in Brick

I am pleased to present a monthly blog post which features one of our current businesses, how they got started, and how First Financial has helped them grow their business. If this inspires you to want to expand your business goals or see how First Financial can assist you further, feel free to reach out to me. Keep reading to learn more about our featured Business of the Month, Anthony Schifilliti: Owner of Nino’s Coal Fired Pizza. — Matt Brazinski, Assistant Vice President of Business Development

Anthony Schifilliti: Owner of Nino’s Coal Fired Pizza

Get your fresh pizza from Nino’s Coal Fired Pizza in Brick, NJ. Owner Anthony Shifilliti has been in the restaurant business for over 31 years, and has owned Nino’s for the last 10 years. Nino’s takes great pride in their food and customer satisfaction. During the week – Nino’s has theme nights, from 20% off your bill to children under age 10 eat for free with a regular adult entrée.

Business Owner: Anthony Schifilliti

Years in Business: 31 years

What do you love most about the business? Interactions with the customers and the satisfaction of what we create here at Nino’s.

What has your biggest challenge been in business? Not being complacent, I am always trying to improve the overall product.

What do you like most about banking with First Financial? First the one on one personal relationships, I know everyone by name and know I am not just another member. I love to recommend everyone I can to First Financial Federal Credit Union!

What is your key to success? Being excited, having passion, and truly putting the product and customer satisfaction before profit.

Visit Nino’s website for more information and to check out their delicious menu! 

Ready to grow your business? Call the Business Development Department at 732.312.1500, email business@firstffcu.com or stop by any branch location. Learn more about our Business Account products and services on our website.

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.

Summer 2018 Newsletter

Summer is winding down, but before you gear up for back to school – take a look at our Summer Quarterly Member Newsletter. In a continued effort to go green, we’re publishing our newsletter electronically – it can also be found on our website and social media sites. Paper copies will be available in our branches.

The Summer Newsletter features the following articles:

  • Upcoming First Financial seminars and events (September – October 2018)
  • Article – Do 0% Interest Credit Cards Have a Dark Side?
  • Message from the CEO
  • Calling all Teachers! 2018 Classroom Grants – Call for Entries ends 9/30
  • IRC Article – Have you made any of these financial mistakes?
  • Donate your Boxtops for Education in any First Financial Branch
  • 2% Auto Loan Challenge – see if we can save you 2% on your car payments by Labor Day!
  • Article – Teach your kids to take a stand, a lemonade stand
  • Important information, holidays, phone numbers, and branch locations

 To view a copy of the newsletter, click here.

Enjoy the rest of Summer!