Residents of the Two River Area have a full array of events, including concerts, tree and menorah lightings, visits from Santa, shows and bazaars, to help get them in the holiday spirit.
Here is a selection of some of the events occurring this week:
The Colts Neck Reformed Church is presenting “The Sounds of Christmas” concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.
What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than by listening to beautiful Christmas music in the sanctuary of the Colts Neck Reformed Church? Bells, instruments and voices of the Celebration Ringers, Alleluia Jazz and Jubilation! choir will combine in an afternoon of Christmas music.
Celebration Ringers is an 18-member high school handbell choir directed by Kay Brown; Alleluia Jazz is a 20-member instrumental group for high-school-age and older directed by Lyn Lewis; and Jubilation! is a vocal choir of 35 junior and senior high-school-age youth directed by Jeff Brown and Maggie Tripold.
The three ensembles will perform arrangements of familiar carols and Christmas songs, along with some original Christmas music by contemporary Christian composers.
The free concert will be presented at the church at 72 County Road 537.
Additional information is available on the web at www.colts neckreformed.org or by calling 732-462-4555.
The Choraliers of Eatontown will present a Christmas concert, entitled “It’s the Best Time of the Year at Woodmere School,” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at athe Raleigh Court school.
The chorus will present a medley of traditional carols, which the audience is welcome to sing along with. Old favorites such as “White Christmas” will be featured in the second half of the program.
The Choraliers is a four-part mixed chorus, which presented its first concert in the spring of 1969. The group is currently directed by Kathie Jacobs, and accompanied by Judy Hyer. Its members include singers from Brick, Middletown, Wall, Oceanport and Eatontown.
Admission to the Christmas concert is $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.
Fair Haven’s tree lighting will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in the borough’s Memorial Park. The evening’s activities will include a holiday stroll throughout the River Road East business district. Santa’s arrival by fire truck is slated for 5:30 p.m. There will be visits and photos with Santa. The tree lighting will be at 6 p.m. Live music will be provided by The Band of the Two Rivers.
The event is sponsored by the Fair Haven Business Association (FHBA) with support from the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Dept. and the borough.
New this year is the holiday stroll. The event kicks off Fair Haven’s Holiday Shopping Weekend. Businesses throughout Fair Haven will be open Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7and 8, for holiday shopping with special sales.
“The area of River Road between Raven and the Peach in the west and Ferguson Dental Care in the east will host the holiday stroll. We invite everyone in Fair Haven and neighboring towns to stroll this area. Businesses in this area will be offering snacks and specials, and throughout the area we will have warming stations offering free food and beverages, fun for kids, and other attractions,” said Carolyn Ferguson, member of FHBA’s marketing committee.
The borough will light its Christmas tree at 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, in Huddy Park, 69 Waterwitch Ave., There will be music from the Henry Hudson Regional High School Choir and Girl Scouts and free hot chocolate, candy canes and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
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Henry Hudson Regional Admiral Players will be presenting “Scrooge! The Musical.” Performances at the high school at
1 Grand Tour will be held: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec 6; 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec 7; and a special matinee with cupcakes and pictures with Santa at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec 8, with the musical slated to begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission; $5 for students; and $7 for senior citizens. The special Sunday matinee with Santa will cost $15. Tickets may be purchased at door. Additional information is available by calling 732-872-0900.
Monmouth County Park System’s Christmas Sing-a-Long will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, on the Historic Longstreet Farm.
Attendees will be able to visit with Rick Garland as he plays the piano for this free old-fashioned sing-along at the 44 Longstreet Road park.
Additional information about park system activities are available by visiting www.monmouthcountyparks.com or calling the park system at 732-842-4000.
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The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 800 from Bergen County and the Jewish War Veterans, Department of New Jersey, will host the annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial located at 1 Memorial Lane.
The ceremony will include a lighting of the Christmas tree and menorah, readings about Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and a visit from Santa. The Brick Memorial High School Caroling Choir will lead the singing of patriotic and holiday songs.
The family-friendly festivities are open to the public at no charge. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served.
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center are located on the grounds of the PNC Bank Arts Center, off the Garden State Parkway at exit 116.
The Red Bank Regional High School will hold a concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, with piano, harp and the concert choir. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. The concert will be held at the RBR Theatre, 101 Ridge Road.
St. James’ Episcopal Church, 300 Broadway, continues its music series at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, with the return of “Messiah,” a beloved holiday tradition. The renowned oratorio, composed by baroque master George Frederic Handel, is performed annually by hundreds of choirs around the world. For the first time in six years, a “Messiah” performance will be offered at St. James’ by the St. James’ choir, soloists and chamber orchestra, continuo and harpsichord, all under the direction of James Douglas, director of music and organist at St. James’. Tickets are $10 and includes a score with which to follow song selections. Seating is open and all are invited to meet the musicians at a reception immediately following in the parish hall.
A Winter Solstice Celebration of Song, Dance and Drumming at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, will feature the Virago Drummers, Core of Fire Dance ensemble and Giving Voice Women’s Chorus.
Attendees are invited to bring their percussion instruments and sing, dance and drum back the sun together.
The celebration will be held at 1475 West Front St., Lincroft.
The performance will be sign-language interpreted for the hearing impaired.
Admission is $10 adults and free for children.
Advanced tickets are available by calling 732-747-0707.
The borough’s annual Christmas tree lighting will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at borough hall, 222 Monmouth Blvd. Following the lighting, the public is invited to the Port-Au-Peck firehouse, 433 Myrtle Ave., where refreshments and Santa Claus will be on hand.
The Westside Community Tree Lighting will be held 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, at Westside Park, Drs. James Parker Boulevard and Shrewsbury Avenue.
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The Red Bank River Center’s Twelve Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt continues through Dec. 12.
Downtown merchants will have their windows decorated for the holidays and participants will have to locate the hidden items listed in the classic holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and note what they find on the entry form, available at all participating businesses, for their chance to win a Red Bank grand prize.
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Pictures with Santa will be available from noon to 4 p.m. through Dec. 22 at The Galleria, 2 Bridge Ave. The annual event is sponsored by The Galleria and TSS Photography. Photo packages will be available for purchase.
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The streets of the borough will be alive with music from noon to 3 p.m. each Saturday through Dec. 21 as traditional carolers, choirs, brass bands, rock, folk, jazz and blues musicians bring holiday tunes to the sidewalks of Red Bank.
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Free horse-drawn carriage rides through the downtown business district will be available from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 21 at two locations: 11 Bridge Ave. and 26 Broad St. The rides are sponsored by Pauline Poyner of Coldwell Banker and Red Bank RiverCenter.
The borough will hold its annual tree lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the firehouse on Ocean Avenue. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet visitors at the firehouse and hot chocolate will be served.
The Monmouth County Historical Association will again participate on Friday, Dec. 6, in the annual Holiday Lantern Tours of Shrewsbury’s Historic Four Corners, a National and State designated Historic District.
During the special evening, the historic buildings at the corners of Broad Street and Sycamore Avenue will be open to welcome the public. Tours will begin at 6 and 8 p.m. and are by reservation only. Guests have the option to purchase dinner at Christ Church at 5 and 7 p.m. before the start of each tour.
The tours will include four historic properties: Monmouth County Historical Association’s Allen House, which was built circa 1710; Christ Church (1769); the Presbyterian Church (1822); and Shrewsbury Friends Meeting House (1816).
At the Allen House, which served the community as a tavern in the mid-18th century, visitors will be greeted by the tavern keeper and his family who will illustrate tavern life through dramatic first-person storytelling. Live instrumental music and singing by Heather MacDonald will be followed by cookies and cider generously donated by Foodtown in Red Bank.
The cost of tickets is $15 for adults and $8 for children 12 and younger. Dinner is $10 per person and will feature Moravian Chicken Pot Pie. Tours leave from Christ Church at 380 Sycamore Ave. Tickets are available by calling Elaine at 732-742-1277.
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The Presbyterian Woman of the Presbyterian Church at Shrewsbury will hold its annual Christmas bazaar from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the 352 Sycamore Avenue church. Featured will be jewelry and accessories, holiday decorations, giftware and bargain goods, handmade crafts, books, toys, fresh floral arrangements and baked and gourmet goodies.
A soup and sandwich lunch will be offered. There will be photos with Santa as well as live music and dance. Proceeds will support mission projects. Admission is free.
TWO RIVER AREA
Four distinctive homes in the Two River area of Monmouth County will be featured from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, on the 40th Annual Holiday House Tour sponsored by Visiting Nurse Association Health Group.
The homes on the self-guided tour include Villa Paradiso in Locust, Reckless Cottage in Sea Bright, Seacroft and an additional home both in Rumson.
The VNA holiday gift boutique at Salt Creek Grille on Bingham Avenue, Rumson, will be open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on tour day and will feature a variety of holiday gifts, greens and accessories. The tour and boutique benefit the VNA Health Group Hospice Program.
Tour tickets are $50 per person ($40 for those 65 and older) and may be ordered online at www.vnahg.org, by phone at 732-224-6780 or purchased on the day of the tour at any of the featured homes. Boutique admission is free.
The holiday boutique will host a preview party at Salt Creek Grille from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, and will include a cash bar and complimentary appetizers. Ticket holders are invited to stop at the boutique to receive a complimentary ornament celebrating the tour’s 40 years.
An optional luncheon is offered on tour day at the Salt Creek Grille from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Luncheon reservations are recommended and available online at www.saltcreekgrille.com or by calling Salt Creek Grill at 732-933-9272.