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

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

4th of July Celebrations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great summer!

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

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Spring has sprung! Time to enjoy the fresh flowers, warm weather, and great outdoor activities…finally. Check out all of the fun events we have listed below – many of them are free or very inexpensive that you and your family and friends can enjoy this month. As always, we welcome you to post a comment with your feedback, we’d love to hear how you liked any of the events we posted!

Friday, April 8 – Sunday, April 10: The Asbury Park Music in Film Festival is here! This event is about bringing people together to share the collective passion for both music and film while also helping to inspire and support the community. The festival is unlike any other event of its kind in that it explores and celebrates a single, and perhaps the most dramatic, aspect of cinema…the role of music in film. For more than 100 years, Asbury Park has been a fabled music destination. From the bandstand shows of Arthur Pryor in 1904 to the more than 70 clubs which formed a cradle of rock during the 60s and 70s, Asbury Park and Music are forever intertwined. For the full list of show times and to purchase tickets, click here. For more information, call 732-291-9211.

Saturday, April 9: Head over to Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) for their first flea market of the season! Hunt for hidden treasures amid furniture, books, art work, bottles, knick knacks, and so much more. The event will take place from 8am-3pm and admission is just $1 admission for adults, children under 12 and members get in free. The village, general store, and bakery are open as well. Please note that the rain date is Sunday, April 10th. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Friday, April 15 – Sunday, April 24: It’s Jersey Shore Restaurant Week! Enjoy a 3-course meal with your choice of an appetizer, entree and dessert for either $22.16 or $32.16. To view the full list of participating restaurants and to view their menus, click here. For more information, call 732-775-7676.

Saturday, April 16: Spring is in the Wine! Take a Walk through the Vineyard at 4JG’s Winery (Colts Neck). Spring is a time of miraculous transformation in their vineyard where the soil begins to warm and sap runs in the vines. Small nodes on the canes begin to swell. Soon the buds will break and small leaves will make their appearance. The growth of the vines in spring is truly amazing. Take a walk through the vineyard and learn about what is happening as 4JG welcomes bud break and spring. The tasting room will be open from 12pm-5pm for sampling their award winning wines. For more information, call 908-930-8066.

Tuesday, April 19: BizFest, the Jersey Shore’s largest business expo provides companies with the chance to promote their business with limitless opportunities for face-to-face networking. The 3rd edition of the Jersey Shore Biz Fest is produced by Rosa Davis and Chris Fotache and MC’d by WRAT Radio’s Rockin’ Robyn Lane. The expo will take place from 5pm-8pm at the Sheraton of Eatontown and will feature exhibits from dynamic companies in the food service, hospitality, technology, legal, marketing, insurance, financial services, wellness, banking, home improvement and other industries in our region. For more information, call 732-542-6500.

Friday, April 22: Two-time Emmy winner, NY Times bestselling author, four-time Grammy nominee, Broadway darling, 2009’s GLAAD Vanguard recipient and 2011 Trevor Project Life Award honoree, Kathy Griffin is a multi-faceted performer with rapid fire wit. She has been making audiences laugh for years discussing Hollywood gossip and celebrity blunders and is coming to Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank)! Tickets start at just $39 – click the link above for to purchase tickets in advance. For more information, call 732-842-9000.

Saturday, April 23: Bring your friends and family to the 1st Annual Lobster Run – a 5k/walk to Care for the Coast. The race will be followed by a lobster bake on the boardwalk at Langosta Lounge (Asbury Park). Click the link above to register and buy post-race lobster bake tickets. For more information, call 732-291-0055.

Saturday, April 30 – Sunday, May 1: The annual Weekend in Old Monmouth has arrived. This annual two-day event allows visitors to see more than 40 of Monmouth County’s historic sites for free! The event is a self-guided tour and will take place Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sunday from 12pm-5pm. For a list of participating historical sites, click the link above – for more information, call 732-431-7460 ext. 7413.

We hope you have a happy spring!

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

colourbox1245002This March is filled with fun and festive holidays – St. Patrick’s Day, the start of Spring, and Easter. So let’s spring into March with a little bit of luck and have some fun with family and friends! Check out the list of free or inexpensive events below that are happening near you, and pencil in a few activities to enjoy.

Local St. Patrick’s Day Parades:

Friday, March 11: Sparking his career at the tender age of 12 years old, Nick Carter toured the globe for the last two decades with the group that made him an international pop superstar, Backstreet Boys. After going solo and also coming back as a group, Nick Carter is stopping at iPlay America (Freehold) during his All American Tour for one night only! Tickets start at just $30 and the show beings at 8pm – for more information, call 732-577-8200.

Saturday, March 12: Come out for a good cause to the Highlands Business Partnership’s 3rd Annual Guinness Run fundraiser. The event will start at 2pm and registration is $30.00 and includes a commemorative t-shirt, a pint glass, and access to the Post-Race Party at the Claddagh. All proceeds go to the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Sunday, March 13: It’s time to kick off Belmar’s Restaurant Tour! Sample some of the best chef creations from top shore restaurants from noon to 4:30pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Brandl, Mr. Shrimp, 10th Ave. Burrito, and Simply Southern. Tickets are $30 through March 12 and the day-of-event tickets are $35 (available at Brandl – 703 Belmar Plaza). For more information, call 732-681-3700 ext. 214.

Tuesday, March 22: Monmouth University (West Long Branch) brings the Theatreworks’ production of Charlotte’s Web – based on E.B. White’s loving story of the friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a little gray spider named Charlotte. This treasured tale, featuring mad-cap and endearing farm animals, explores bravery, selfless love, and the true meaning of friendship. A great event for children – tickets start at just $12. For more information, call 732-263-5715.

Saturday, March 26: Hop over to Allaire Village for an Easter Egg Hunt! There are over 10,000 eggs in the village for children of all ages to find. Hunts are divided into age groups and take place every 15 minutes continuously throughout the day from 12pm-4pm. Register in advance to avoid lines the day of – plus, children under 3 years old are free. Other activities include story time with Clifford the Big Red Dog, visits from the Easter Bunny, bonnet parade and contest, games, tours, and craft demonstrations. To purchase tickets in advance, click the link above – for more information, call 732-919-3500.

Sunday, March 27: Asbury Park Convention Center will be holding it’s 81st Annual Easter Parade. What a perfect way to kick off the holiday with the entire family – plus, it’s FREE! Head on down to the Convention Center’s Paramount Theatre from 1pm-2:30pm to see the Easter Bunny and great “Spring” sights. For more information, call 732-502-5752.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Easter!

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

Love is in the air – and there’s so much to love this February with a ton of fantastic events happening in a town near you. Check out the list below of free or inexpensive activities to do with your loved ones all month long.

Wednesday, February 10: The State Ballet Theater of Russia presents one of the greatest classical ballets of all time, Swan Lake at Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank). This full-scale production, set to the music of Tchaikovsky and based on Russian folklore and German legend, follows a heroic young prince as he works to free the beautiful swan maiden from an evil spell. The State Ballet Theater of Russia presents 50 of Russia’s brightest ballet stars to bring this romantic tale of true love to glorious life! Tickets start at just $30. For more information and showtimes, call 732-842-9000.

Saturday, February 13: Take five of the top musicians from the greater New York area and create a sound that blends a healthy serving of traditional jazz, a touch of blues and rock, a dash of international flair, combined with a steady mix of standards and new material; and you begin to have a sense of the tasty cocktail that Sweet Whiskey will be serving up. This Valentine’s Day, take your loved one to enjoy “Jazz, Love, & Sweet Whiskey” at 8pm to hear all those songs that make your heart pitter patter at Algonquin Arts Theatre (Manasquan). For more information, call 732-528-9211.

Thursday, February 18: Join us at 6:00pm for our “How to Buy & Sell Your Home” Seminar, presented by the experts at First Financial. Learn how to go about buying a new home, the best way to sell your current home, figure out how much house you can afford to buy, budgeting tips for home improvement projects, plus so much more! The event will be held at our Wall Office at 1800 Route 34 North (Building 3, Suite 302), Wall. Space is limited, so make sure you sign up today! For more information, call 866-750-0100.

Sunday, February 21: Take the journey of a lifetime and step into the “unbubblelievable” magical kingdom of Fan Yang’s Mega Bubble Show at the Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank)! The first and only, interactive stage production of its kind, complete with fantastic light effects, lasers, and jaw-dropping masterpieces of bubble artistry – this unforgettable extravaganza is not to be missed. Bring the whole family for a day of fun – showtimes are at 12pm and 3pm and tickets start at just $20. For more information, call 732-842-9000.

Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday at historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale). In the early 1800’s there were no holidays that the new nation could bond over more so than George Washington’s birthday. There were dances and festivities in almost every town, so join the workers and their families of the Howell Iron Works in a day of celebration! There will be a special reenactment in the Chapel at 1pm and hearth cooking and craft demonstrations as well as house tours. This event is a great reason to get out of the house during winter and explore the village! For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Head over to Havana Tropical Cafe (Highlands) for their Annual Chili Cookoff! All proceeds will directly benefit the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Sample some of the best chili in the area – the event will take place from 3-7pm and is $30 per person which includes chili tasting and beer. For more information, call 732-291-4713.

Sunday, February 21 – Wednesday, March 3: Mark your calendars! February is the time to dine fine in Red Bank – it’s Red Bank Restaurant Week! From February 21-March 3 (excluding Friday and Saturday), take advantage of $20, $25 and $30 prix fixe dining at over 20 outstanding restaurants, including many brand new eateries! Menus include appetizer, entree and dessert – click the link above to check out the participating restaurants and menus. For more information, call 732-842-4244.

Thursday, February 25: Join us at 6pm for a complimentary “Income for Life” Seminar, presented by the Investment & Retirement Center located at First Financial. Learn the sources of retirement income to rely on and strategies to consider, current retirement risks and how you’re drawing on your savings, and how to use annuities to guarantee income for life. The event will be held at our Freehold/Howell Service Center located at 389 Route 9 North (Next to the Howell Park & Ride), Howell. Space is limited, so make sure you sign up today! For more information, call 866-750-0100.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

New-Years-Eve-Family-Fun-in-Southeast-MichiganHappy 2016! 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.

Wednesday, January 6: Are you into vintage cars? Well, you’re in for a treat – it’s the British Automobile Display at the Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey (Pt. Pleasant Borough). From noon-4pm, enjoy an eclectic display of British Sports cars and sedans from the Positive Earth Drivers Club. The display includes at wide variety of automobilia, antique auto service equipment, die cast cars, vintage toys and assorted antiques. For more information, call 609-713-9074.

Saturday, January 16: Join the Ocean County Parks Department for “summer fun” in January with cool games, crafts, dancing and the world’s largest Twister game for their Winter Beach Blast! From 1pm-2:30pm, head on over to the Ocean County Mall (Toms River) for a FREE family-fun day. For more information, call 732-506-9090.

Head on over to Jake’s Branch County Park (Beachwood) for a Night of the Stars. Spend the night under the stars with A.S.T.R.A. (The Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area) volunteer members on site to share out of this world knowledge, answer questions, view stars, planets, and constellations through telescopes – feel free to bring your own telescope if you have one. This event is from 6pm-8pm and completely FREE! For more information, call 732-281-2750.

Saturday, January 23 & Sunday, January 24: Don’t miss this wintery mix of fun at Laurita Winery (New Egypt) for their two-day Ice Sculpture Fest! A family-friendly, winter wonderland event for all ages highlighted by ice sculptures, classic winter activities, and a variety of themed food and beverages. The cold weather will make this festival a go! Admission is just $10 for adults and $5 for children – order tickets online today by clicking on the link above. For more information, call 609-758-8000.

Saturday, January 23: The Strand Theatre (Lakewood) presents The Machine Performs Pink Floyd – a true Pink Floyd experience. James D’Amico Productions & Tommy’s House bring to the stage Pink Floyd’s tunes accompanied by an interstellar light and multimedia show. America’s top Pink Floyd show, has forged a 25 year reputation of excellence, extending the legacy of Pink Floyd. The Machine, a New York-based band, focuses on making every show an authentic Floydian experience for their fans. Tickets start at just $25 – for more information, call 732-367-7789.

Sunday, January 24: If you have ever wondered what goes on behind the door that says “Employees Only” at Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant)? This is your chance to find out at their Behind the Scenes Tour! Join the aquarium staff as they give you a tour of the aquarium from top to bottom. Pre-registration and sneakers are required and open to children ages 5 and up only. Tickets are just $10 for children and $15 for adults. Reserve your spot today – call 732-899-1659.

Saturday, January 30: You won’t want to miss The Music Man at Medley’s Singing Ice Cream Parlour (Seaside Heights) for the Super “Ice Cream” Bowl Party! While orders are delivered, music is playing and the wait staff begins to involve all customers in fun spoofs and getting at least one person from each table sing, dance, or shout for their ice cream! Be sure to stop by at 4pm, 6pm, or 8pm for some FREE fun when you order a sundae. For more information, call 844-854-2779.

We hope you have a great new year!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this November 2015

Fall-Family-FunIt’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.

Sunday, November 1: Don’t forget to turn your clocks back – Daylight Saving Time Ends!

Monday, November 2: The all-time favorite tale, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, is coming to the live stage at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre (West Long Branch). This enchanting musical is based on C.S. Lewis’ adventure story about four children of war-torn England, who accidentally enter the land of Narnia by climbing through a magic wardrobe. This strange and wondrous place is ruled by the cold-hearted White Witch, who makes the winter last year round. Although they seem unlikely saviors, the children fulfill an ancient prophecy by defeating the witch, thus restoring sunshine and peace to the spell-bound Narnia and returning the great Lion King Aslan to his throne. Tickets start at just $12! For more information, call 732-263-6889.

Friday, November 6 – Sunday, November 8: Historic Allaire Village (Farmingdale) will be hosting a Stocking Stuffer Sale all weekend long! From 10am – 3pm, shop for those perfect handmade items that will delight everyone on your holiday list. For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Friday, November 6 – Sunday, November 15: It’s time for the 2015 Jersey Shore Restaurant Week! At participating Monmouth Country restaurants, you can enjoy a 3-course meal with your choice of an appetizer, entree and dessert for either $20.15 or $30.15. Check out all participating restaurants and try one (or even 10) places that you’ve never been to before and make it a night out on the town! For more information, visit the website above.

Saturday, November 7 – Sunday, November 8: Great Adventure’s (Jackson) 6th Annual Grape Adventure is back! The wine festival features 14 New Jersey vineyards with nearly 150 locally-produced wines for sampling, handcrafted gifts from local artisans, and an array of dishes from specialty food truck vendors. Grape Adventure takes place 11:30am – 5pm both Saturday and Sunday and the Safari Off Road Adventure tours will run from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. both days. For more information, call 732-928-2000.

Saturday, November 14: Browse, shop and look for that missing item, lost childhood toy, antique jewelry, memorabilia and more at the Late Fall Flea Market at Allaire Village (Farmingdale)! Admission is just $1 for those 12 and older and the event will be held from 8am – 3pm. The Village, General Store and Bakery will be open as well! For more information, call 732-919-3500.

Thursday, November 19: Join First Financial’s Investment & Retirement Center for a complimentary Basic Estate Planning Seminar at 6pm in Howell. Reserve your seat today – space and time is limited! For more information, call 866.750.0100 or visit www.firstffcu.com.

Saturday, November 21 – Sunday, January 3: Capture the magic of the holiday season at Great Adventure’s (Jackson) Holiday in the Park! Enjoy the millions of glittering lights, entertainment, seasonal treats, Santa’s village and so much more with the entire family. You won’t want to miss this enchanting event coming to the theme park for the first time ever. For more information, call 732-928-2000.

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremonies:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!