Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this June 2019

You can smell the freshness in the air, feel the warmth of the sun and the grass between your toes – it’s almost summer! This is best time of year to indulge in fun activities and take local day trips with family and friends. Check out these free or inexpensive activities and events below to start your next adventure. And, Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16th so don’t forget to appreciate Dad too!

June 1:

Giant Spring Flea Market in Ocean Grove from 9am-4pm. Free admission to the event, which includes over 300 vendors selling new, used, and antique items. The event will be held rain or shine. Learn more at http://www.oceangrovenj.com/ or call 732-774-1391.

Summerfest in Pt. Pleasant from 11am-7pm. The event will take place at Community Park, 2255 Bridge Avenue. There will be vendors, food, music, inflatables and more! Get additional details at https://www.facebook.com/Pointpleasantsummerfest/ or email info@pointpleasantchamber.com

June 1 & 2: Jersey Shore Wine Festival at First Energy Park (Lakewood). The event runs from 12-5pm each day and will be held rain or shine. Sample over 100 great NJ wines, plus eat delicious food, and there will be entertainment, crafters, and exhibitors. Tickets are $20 in advance or $30 at the door for ages 21+ and designated drivers and attendees age 15 and up are $5. Call 732-946-2711 or click here for more information.

June 2: Red Bank Farmers Market from 9am-2pm in the Galleria Parking Lot, 2 Bridge Avenue. You won’t want to miss locally grown produce from NJ’s best farmers, as well as unique vendors and crafts for sale. Learn more by calling 732-530-7300 or go to https://www.redbank.org/events/55/red-bank-farmers-market-2019/

June 5: Downtown Toms River Farmers Market from 11am-5pm at the Ocean County Parking Garage Lawn on Hadley Avenue. Free parking is available. You will also find NJ fresh fruit, vegetables, baked goods, olives, pickles, Italian specialties, spices, candy, nuts, coffee, homemade soap and more! Get more details by calling 732-341-8738 or visit www.downtowntomsriver.com

June 9: Irish Festival at Monmouth Park Racetrack (Oceanport) from 11am-6pm. Make it a lucky day and come celebrate your inner Irish at the 49th Annual Irish Festival. Start your day with a Roman Catholic Mass. Follow that with a fun-filled day of live thoroughbred racing, crafters, food, a pipe and drum competition, two human horse races and more! Authentic Irish music and step dancing will be performed throughout the day. Plus, enjoy Family Fun Day with face painting, pony rides, and a bounce house. Parking is $5 and admission for those over age 12 is $5. Learn more at http://www.njirishfestival.com/

June 15:

Eco Elephant Family Flea Market at Dorbrook Park (Colts Neck) from 9am-2pm. Browse and shop a number of vendors offering one-of-a-kind items and other wares. Admission and parking are free. Get more information at https://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/page.aspx?ID=4548

Spring Lake Irish Festival from 12-5pm in Downtown Spring Lake. Enjoy an afternoon of everything Irish! There will be music, dancing, food, shopping, kids activities and more. Fun for the entire family.  Learn more at http://www.springlake.org/irishfestival or call 732-449-0577.

June 16: Father’s Day at iPlay America (Freehold) from 11am-9pm. Dads eat and ride FREE on Father’s Day, plus they’ll get a free draft beer at the Game Time Bar & Grill. Find out more details at https://www.iplayamerica.com/event/fathers-day-2/ or call 732-577-8200.

June 22: Taste of Highlands from 12-5pm at Huddy Park. You won’t want to miss this spectacular event with five hours of scrumptious samplings and cocktails at over 20 restaurants and eateries. Nowhere else will you find such an eclectic selection of cuisine served in just a half square mile. Tickets are $45 and include a drawstring backpack with a map, plus free transportation and parking. Learn more here.

June 22 & 23:

Wine and Chocolate Festival at Monmouth Park Racetrack (Oceanport) from 8am-5pm. Unlimited wine and sweet dessert samples – what more do you need? So gather up your friends and family, sample from dozens of delicious New Jersey wines and finish it all off with the smooth taste of chocolate. Option 1: $10 Unlimited Wine Sampling & Commemorative Wine Glass, Option 2: $7 Chocolate Sampling Only, Option 3: $16 Wine and Chocolate Sampling Combo & Commemorative Wine Glass. Parking is $5. Learn more at http://www.monmouthpark.com/event/wine-chocolate-festival/2019-06-22/

Family Camp Out at Ocean County Park (Lakewood) begins at 6pm Saturday and ends at 9am on Sunday. Cost is $5 per person, ages 5 years to adult are welcome to attend. The camp out takes place at the Beach Complex and there will be a campfire at night and an evening nature walk. You will need to bring your own tent, sleeping bag, marshmallows for roasting and a no-cook breakfast for Sunday morning. Children must be accompanied by an adult for the entire camp out. Find out more details by calling 732-506-5122 or click here.

June 29 & 30: Wall Township Fair at 1870 Baileys Corner Road. The fair runs from 4-11pm on Saturday night and ends on Sunday at 9:30pm with fireworks. You won’t want to miss rides, games, music, and delicious treats. Learn more at http://wallfair.mmdacademy.com/

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this May 2019

We can finally enjoy the Spring sun and warming weather! Don’t forget to take advantage of our local parks and enjoy a bike ride, a hike, or even a have a family picnic this month. It’s a free, fun and a great way to stay active and get some fresh air at the same time. And, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th so don’t forget to appreciate Mom! Check out some more free or inexpensive activities below that you can enjoy this month with your family and friends.

May 4:

  • Spring Fling Arts and Crafts Festival at the Ocean Grove Great Auditorium from 10am-4pm. This event is rain or shine and takes place on Main Avenue, Pilgrim Pathway, and Auditorium Park. Over 200 artists and crafters will be there as well as food vendors and live music. This is a fun family friendly day that you won’t want to miss! Learn more at oceangrovenj.com
  • Drive In Movie at Barnegat Public Dock at 8:30pm. Don’t miss an old fashioned drive in movie at the Barnegat Dock on East Bay Avenue. The event is free to attend. Learn more at http://barnegat.net/

May 5:

  • Belmar Kite Festival from 11am-4pm between the 3rd and 4th Avenue beach and boardwalk. See more details at http://www.belmarbusinesspartnership.com/
  • Red Bank’s 9th Annual International Beer, Wine and Food Festival from 12-6pm at White Street Parking Lot between Maple Avenue and Broad Street. This grand festival is a great time for one and all and features international food from Red Bank area restaurants, a large selection of beer & wine, live entertainment on two stages, kids area and family fun, plus unique crafters & vendors. Admission is $5 per person, kids 10 and under are free. Get the scoop by clicking here.

May 11 and 12: Asbury Park’s Spring Bazaar from 12-5pm at Convention Hall. Celebrate Mother’s Day weekend at the Asbury Park Spring Bazaar. The event will feature a shopping extravaganza with handcraft & vintage vendors, flowers, a photo booth, beauty styling, live music, DIY workshops, and Mother’s Day Brunch. Learn more here.

May 12: Mother’s Day at Casino Pier (Seaside Heights) at 12pm-6pm. Spoil Mom by bringing her to Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach – Moms will receive a free ride wristband with a paying child under age 16. See more details at https://casinopiernj.com/event/mothers-day-promotion-2/

May 17-19: Annual Belmar Seafood Festival at Pyanoe Plaza. Friday night runs from 4-8pm, Saturday from 11am-8pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm. Don’t miss the 33rd seafood festival featuring delicious sea fare, kids activities, crafters, and outdoor live music. Learn more at www.visitbelmarnj.com

May 18:

  • Craft Market, Festival and Spring Auction at Allaire Village (Wall) from 10am-4pm. You’ll see over 50 crafters, Allaire artisans, flowers, historic demonstrations and more! Plus a real 19th century auction in front of the General Store. Advanced tickets are $5 per adult, $3 for children ages 2-12, and kids under 2 are free. Buy tickets online here.
  • Downtown Toms River Chili and Salsa Cookoff from 11am-5pm on Washington Street between Hooper Avenue and Main Street. Free admission and free parking! Join the 30th Annual Chili & Salsa Cookoff. Come taste the best chili from local restaurants and chefs and vote for your favorite! There will be food trucks offering everything from hamburgers and hot dogs to gyros, tacos and more. Toms River Fire Co. #1 will have a beer & wine garden. Live entertainment, merchandise vendors, and kids’ rides. Learn more at http://www.downtowntomsriver.com/

May 23-28: Asbury Park Summer Kickoff Carnival at Ocean and 5th Avenues. The Asbury Park Carnival will be filled with rides for all ages, various attractions & delicious fair food. Join the fun at Bradley Park! The carnival begins on 5/23 from 5-10pm. Learn more and get tickets online here.

May 25-27:

  • Bradley Beach Memorial Day Fest from 11am-8pm on Ocean Avenue. A Memorial Day Parade will take place at 10am on 5/25. There will be 6 bands and a DJ, over 180 craft vendors, 25 food vendors, kids’ activities (water slide, rides, face painting, sand art), and oceanfront fun. Get more information here.
  • Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival at Monmouth Park Racetrack (Oceanport) from 11:30am-6:30pm. It’s time to kick off the summer season at Monmouth Park! There will be over 40 mouth watering food trucks, live music, family fun activities like face painting and pony rides, and a bounce house. The first horse race begins at 12:50pm on 5/25. Admission is $5 with kids 12 and under free, and $5 for parking. See the food truck line up and learn more here.

May 27:

  • Freehold Memorial Day Parade on Main Street in Downtown Freehold from 10am-2:30pm. Don’t miss one of the largest consecutively running parades in NJ! The parade steps off from the corner of Brinkerhoff Avenue and Main Street at 10am. The parade features more than 70 military units, veterans groups, bands, fire departments, EMS squads, youth groups, custom designed floats and civilian units.​ Learn more at http://www.freeholdmemorialdayparade.com/
  • Middletown Memorial Day Parade begins at 10am from Bayshore Middle School. The route is as follows: Leonardvile Road to Appleton Avenue to Center Avenue to Brevent Avenue, turn right onto Highland Avenue, then left on Leonard Avenue and right on Viola Avenue to the American Legion Post on Route 36. The parade ends at approximately 11:30am. Learn more here.
  • Manchester Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony at 10am at Manchester Township Recreation on Lake Road. The parade will feature a remembrance of all the veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The township is asking children to adorn their bicycles with patriotic décor and take part in the parade. Free to attend. Learn more at http://www.manchestertwp.com/

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this April 2019

Spring has sprung! Time to enjoy the fresh flowers, warm weather, and great outdoor activities this April. Check out all of the fun events we have listed below – that you and your family and friends can enjoy this month. We also hope you have a Happy Easter and Passover!

April 4: Lakewood BlueClaws Opening Day Game at 6:35pm vs the Hickory Crawdads. Join the BlueClaws minor league baseball team as they kick off their 19th season at the Jersey Shore! Kids 12 and under will also get to run the bases after the game. Learn more and buy tickets online here, or call 732.901.7000.

April 7:

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Casino Pier (Seaside Heights) at 9:30am and 11am. Enjoy breakfast and fun with the Easter Bunny! Pre-registration is required. Tickets include a breakfast buffet, $5 arcade card, face painting, and photos with the Easter Bunny for $12 per person. Register online here, or call 732.793.6488.

Red Bank Street Fair and Craft Show from 11am-5pm in Downtown Red Bank. Free admission. Don’t miss artists, crafters, vendors, food, kids’ rides & games, live music, and more. See more information here, or call 908.654.1400.

April 12-14: Annual Spring Swap Meet and Auto Show at Raceway Park (Englishtown).  Connect with other car owners, look for hard to find parts/accessories, appreciate American classic cars, there will be over 300 cars for sale, vendors, and more! General admission is $12 per day, free parking, and kids 12 and under are free. Gates open at 7am each day. The event closes at 6pm Friday & Saturday, and 4pm Sunday. Call 732.446.7800 or go to https://etownracewaypark.com/ to learn more.

April 13:

Spring Flea Market at Allaire Village (Wall) from 8am-3pm. Don’t miss bargains among vintage treasures, books, artwork, handmade items and more! $2 admission for adults and kids 12 and under are free. The historic village, general store, and bakery will be open as well. Learn more here or call 732.919.3500.

Langosta Lounge’s Annual Lobster Run (Asbury Park) at 10am. All donations and proceeds from the 5K event go to the American Littoral Society to benefit marine life. A buffet at Langosta Lounge will begin at 10:30am and will be available through 12:30pm. Learn more, register to run/walk in the 5K race, and see the buffet menu here, or call 732.915.9139.

Breakfast with Sonny the Bunny at iPlay America (Freehold) from 8am-11am. There will be a hot breakfast buffet, live performances, and professional photos, treats, and visiting with Sonny the Bunny. Purchase event tickets here, or call 732.577.8200.

Mermaid Tea Party at Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant) from 1:30-3pm. Dress in your best mermaid outfit and have some magical under the sea fun! Enjoy snacks, tea, make a craft, and more. Ages 4-10 only, pre-registration is required. Cost is $30 for an adult/child pair, $15 for each additional child, $20 for each additional adult. Learn more and register here, or call 732.892.0600.

April 13 and 14: Kites at the Pier Festival (Pier Village, Long Branch) from 9am-4pm. Every kind of kite imaginable will be at this festival!  Kites of all shapes and sizes – from inflatable flying creatures to traditional kites, will be flying high over the beach between the Avenue and McLoone’s Pier House in Long Branch. A dazzling display of giant kites will be visible for miles and miles. Learn more about the event at https://piervillage.com/events/kites-at-the-pier-2/ or call 732.923.0100.

April 14: Spring Wreath Workshop at B&B Studios (Arnold Ave., Pt. Pleasant Beach) from 1-3pm.  You’ll learn hands on how to construct your very own fresh spring wreath made with lavender and eucalyptus, led by Amber and Earth. All you need to bring to the class is a pair of garden shears. Learn more here.

April 20:

Easter Egg Hunt and Festival at Allaire Village (Wall) from 11am-4pm. Don’t miss this day of fun for the whole family! Over 15,000 eggs will be hidden on the village green and hunts will take place every 15 minutes. Children will be grouped according to age, and each child can hunt for 6 eggs total. Pre-registration is recommended (the event was sold out in 2018). Tickets are $8 per person and kids under 1 years old are free. If the event is not sold out, tickets on the day of at the door will be $12 each. There will also be music, costumed characters, balloon animals, basket & bonnet decorating, an egg toss and other games, Easter Bunny visits and more. Learn more and purchase tickets online here, or call 732.919.3500.

Easter at the Pier (Pier Village, Long Branch) from 12-4pm. Pier Village will be featuring a DJ, Easter Bunny meet & greet, Easter themed games and contests, face painting, inflatable rides, balloons, and more! Learn more here or call 732.923.0100.

April 27: Belmar Artwalk from 12-4pm on Main Street. Don’t miss the beautiful displays of art throughout downtown Belmar! For more information go to https://www.belmararts.org/ or call 732.749.3360.

April 27 and 28:

Allaire BBQ and Brew Fest (Wall) from 11am-5pm. $8 per adult and $4 per child when purchased in advance, $12 per adult and $8 per child at the door, kids ages 2 and under are free. This event will be held rain or shine. There will be a beer and wine garden, award winning BBQ items to purchase, food trucks, live music and fun. Learn more and purchase tickets here, or call 732.919.3500.

Annual Waretown Spring Wine Festival from 12-5pm both days (Waretown Recreation and Lake Area, Wells Mills Rd.). The Waretown Spring Wine Festival is a two-day event that features an array of samplings from a spectrum of award-winning wineries from throughout the Garden State. In addition to premier wine tastings, there will also be live entertainment, crafters, retail vendors, food vendors, and a children’s play area. Tickets are $20 when purchased in advance (if you are not wine tasting, tickets are $5). Get more details by calling 732.946.2711 or click here.

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this March 2019

Let’s spring into March with a little bit of luck and have some fun with family and friends! Check out the list below of local (free or inexpensive) activities to do with your loved ones all month long.

March 2: Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday at Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant) from 1-4pm. Bring your favorite Dr. Seuss book and share it during story times with the Cat in the Hat. Enjoy crafts too! Cost is free with aquarium admission. Learn more by calling 732.899.1659 or click here.

March 3:

Open ceramics at Thompson Park in Lincroft from 12:30-4:30pm. Choose from a large selection of bisque fired pottery pieces to glaze and make your own. Children age 12 and under are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $6 per hour plus price of bisque ware – cash or check only. Learn more by calling 732.842.4000 ext. 4343 or click here.

Belmar St. Patrick’s Day Parade from 12-4pm on Main Street. Don’t miss one of the biggest celebrations of St. Patty’s Day in our area! See the parade route and get more information here, call 732.280.2648 or watch the parade streaming live the day of!

March 9:

Ocean County’s Annual St. Patty’s Day Parade kicks off at 12pm down the Boulevard in Seaside Heights. Enjoy a great afternoon celebrating with thousands! For more details, visit https://www.ocstpatricksdayparade.com/

March 10:

Belmar Restaurant Tour from 11:30am-3:30pm. Don’t miss over 30 of Belmar’s best places to eat on this year’s annual restaurant tour. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased online in advance.

Annual Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade from 1-3pm. The parade begins at 5th and Ocean Avenues, with lots of places to continue to celebrate and have fun afterward. See the parade route and get more information at https://asburyparkstpatricksparade.com/

March 12 & 13: Flavor of Freehold Restaurant Tour from 5:30-8:30pm in Downtown Freehold. A unique tour of Downtown Freehold’s restaurants, bars, and shops held over two days. Participants walk from place to place with their “Passport” used as a guide of where to go. Everyone will receive signature samples from some of Freehold’s most loved establishments. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online.

March 15: Pizza and Penguins at Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant) from 6-7:30pm. Your favorite flightless bird will make a special dinnertime appearance while you enjoy pizza and drinks! Learn all about them, ask their keepers questions, and meet Perky the Penguin too. Pre-registration is required. All ages are welcome. Cost  is $20 Adults $15 Children. Call 732.899.1659 or click here.

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day at iPlay America in Freehold from 11am-9pm. Come to iPlay America and feel the luck of the Irish! Purchase an iRide, iRide Plus, or Power Play Pass and you are eligible choose a coin from the Pot of Gold. You can also win a free Shamrock Shake or Free Ride Band. Game Time Bar and Grill will also be having great St. Patrick’s Day specials featuring corned beef and cabbage and more. Get additional details at https://www.iplayamerica.com/ or call 732.577.8200.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off in Downtown Freehold on McLean Street at 1pm and runs through 2:30pm. The parade route will be packed with tons of fun and Irish tradition, as participants march from McLean Street to the Elk’s Lodge. Parking is available in Borough and Public lots. Learn more here.

March 23 & 24: Sugar Shack Tour, Tasting and Tractor ride at Happy Day Farm (Manalapan) from 12-5pm. Freezing nights and thawing days mark the beginning of maple sugaring season, and the work of tapping trees and boiling sap is underway. This is a great outdoor winter experience where attendees will take a tractor ride of the 130-acre farm. Visitors will find out what equipment is needed to collect sap, learn how to identify maple trees, and lend a hand in the process. In the Sugar Shack, visitors can see how sap is produced into delicious maple syrup. $3 per person to attend and 100% pure maple syrup available to purchase. Call 732.977.3607 to find out more, or click here.

March 24: Jersey Shore Comic Book Show at the Elks Lodge in Toms River from 10am-4pm. If you are a comic fan, don’t miss this comic book festival featuring artists, writers, costume groups. Guests include Joe del Beato from Marvel Comics and the Star Wars 501st Legion. There will also be raffles, door prizes, and a costume contest. $3 admission. Learn more by calling 609.242.7756 or visit http://www.jerseyshorecomicbookshow.com/

March 27-31: Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park. The festival begins on 3/27 with a 7pm screening, and various films are shown at different locations around the city. See the full film festival movies and schedule at https://www.gsff.org/ and purchase tickets online at https://www.gsff.org/tickets/ . There are various ticket options available for a full weekend pass, day passes, awards banquet, and more. Don’t miss this great artistic event!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this January 2019

Happy 2019! 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 4: Pizza and Penguins at Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant) from 6-7:30pm. Your favorite flightless bird will make a special dinnertime appearance while you and the kids enjoy pizza! Learn all about them, ask their keepers questions, and meet Perky the Penguin too. Pre-registration is required. Cost is $20 for adults and $15 for children. Call 914-334-2440 or email to reserve your spot is conservation@jenkinsons.com

January 5: Night Skies Hike & S’mores from 6-8pm (Lincroft). Take a hike around Thompson Park and learn what’s in the night sky before warming up by the firepit with s’mores, warm drinks, and music. Open to ages 7 and up, under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The event begins at the Thompson Park Ski Hut.  For more information, click here.

January 12: Christina Noel and Friends Hands On Cooking Class (Soule’ Culinary and Art Studio, 800 Ocean Road in Pt. Pleasant) from 5-8pm. Hands on cooking for the evening includes making wet mozzarella, stuffed baby bella mushrooms, roasted peppers, crostini, caprese, homemade ricotta for ravioli filling, maple sweet potato sauce, and soufflé for dessert. Purchase your tickets here.

January 13: Goldfish Swim School Free Family Swim (Manalapan) from 4:30-6:30pm. Goldfish Swim School is hosting an exclusive event for local families. The event includes FREE family swim, facility tours and lots of family fun! RSVP at 848-206-3584 or email swimmanalapan@goldfishss.com for more details, or click here.

January 24: New Year, New Flavor Tasting Event (Molly Pitcher Inn, Red Bank) from 6-9pm. Enjoy an evening of fantastic flavors from some of Red Bank’s finest restaurants, amazing dessert purveyors, and artisan breweries – all to benefit the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide and the Red Bank Business Alliance. The party will rock to the beat of the Sherri Pie Band while you feast on the best food and spirits Red Bank has to offer. There will be an auction of prizes donated by Red Bank and Monmouth County businesses that will add to the fun.  Get your tickets here.

January 26 & 27: Asbury Park Beer Fest at Convention Hall. The event takes place 12-4pm both days, and Saturday night has an additional session from 6-10pm. Advance tickets are available at ticketmaster.com or at the Stone Pony Box Office. Ages 21+ only. The event features craft beer, cider, retro beer, boardwalk food, and tasting classes. Learn more here.

January 27: Beef and Brew at Chubby Pickle in the Highlands from 3-7pm. Tickets are $30 and include a buffet dinner & brew. There will be a gift auction, pipe bands and Irish dancers to entertain. All proceeds will benefit the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Call 732-291-4713 or click here.

January 28: Taste of Long Branch Restaurant Tour at Rooney’s from 5:30-8:30pm. Join the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce for their annual Long Branch Restaurant Tour. They will be showcasing the local restaurants and their talented chefs. Be prepared to taste delicious food from multiple restaurants and bakeries. Taste of Long Branch is a night to eat, drink, and be merry. Rooney’s cash bar will be open for the evening. Learn more here and purchase tickets in advance.

We hope you have a happy and healthy new year!

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.