The Two River area has lots of concerts, shows, bazaars and other fun events for the holiday season. Here is a selection of events in the area this week:
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 at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial.
The ceremony will include the lighting of the Christmas tree and menorah and readings about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. The Brick Memorial High School Caroling Choir will lead the singing of patriotic and holiday songs. The festivities are open to the public at no charge and hot chocolate and cookies will be offered.
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.
Additional information is available by calling 732-335-0033, Ext. 100.
The Middletown Arts Center (MAC), located on 36 Church St., is holding on Sunday, Dec. 2, its annual Holiday Extravaganza.
The free event with art activities and entertainment will be enjoyed by hundreds of families, and will feature New Jersey’s only TubaChristmas performance, tree lighting, visit from Santa, carols, children’s crafts, and a 50/50 raffle.
Holiday refreshments will be provided by the American Antiques Company.
The Holiday Extravaganza will begin at 5 p.m. with caroling and Middletown’s traditional tree lighting on the MAC grounds. During the tree lighting, Santa will arrive by fire truck, and then proceed to his secret workshop in the MAC where he will pose for pictures with the children. Parents are requested to bring their own cameras, as a photographer will not be present to take photos.
At 6 p.m., TubaChristmas, an exciting ensemble of tuba and euphonium players from across the community, will perform traditional holiday songs in the MAC theater. The MAC’s TubaChristmas performance, conducted by Joseph Lawlor, is New Jersey’s only TubaChristmas event and one of more than 200 concerts across the country. The event is a tribute to the late artist/teacher William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day 1902. Tuba and euphonium players of all ages are invited to perform in TubaChristmas. Contact Maggie O’Brien at 732-706-4100 for more information.
Guests will also enjoy a tap performance by Miss Deena and the MACettes in the theater at 6:30 p.m.
“The Middletown Arts Center is honored to host Middletown’s annual Holiday Extravaganza,” said Maggie O’Brien, executive director.
“The event has become a holiday tradition for hundreds of local families. Meet our talented instructors and enjoy an exciting day of free art activities and entertainment.”
Tickets to the Middletown Arts Center’s 50/50 raffle fundraiser will be on sale for $5 each throughout the evening. Jolly Santa himself will pull the winning ticket at the end of the evening. Visit www.middletownarts.org or call 732-706-4100 for more information.
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Monmouth Conservation Foundation’s Holiday Style Luncheon and Shopping Spree will be held Wednesday, Dec. 5 at the Navesink Country Club, Middletown.
The reception will begin at 11:30 a.m., luncheon at noon and the boutique will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fifteen percent of the sales proceeds will benefit the foundation.
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Spread some cheer this holiday season as Regal Pointe Independent Living, 1800 Highway 35 south, invites the public to a holiday gift auction from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, to benefit local children.
A $5 donation will allow attendees to participate in the gift auction. Proceeds will be donated to MonmouthCares, Inc. and Ocean Partnership for Children, Inc. Attendees can also help by donating clothes or a new, unwrapped toy for a child. Light refreshments will be served.
For additional information, contact Linda or Elaine at 732-957-0083.
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Saint Leo the Great School, Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, is once again opening its doors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2, for its annual Christmas bazaar.
Featuring more than 70 vendors from the tri-state area, there will be a great selection of items for everyone on that gift list. A huge raffle table – with the chance to win the year’s hottest gifts, jewelry, electronics, toys, gift cards – is always a big favorite.
Also featured will be the Cookie Corner, with a huge selection of delicious fresh-baked cookies for sale. As always there will be beautiful poinsettias for purchase as well as tons of ideas for holiday décor and gift giving. Homemade breakfast and lunch items and other goodies also will be available. The indoor event features free admission and parking.
The proceeds benefit Saint Leo the Great School PTA programs.
Additional information is available on the school’s website: www.saintleothegreatschool.com.
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Coping With Laryngomalacia, Inc. (CWL), a Middletown-based nonprofit organization that provides support for families dealing with the congenital birth defect known as Laryngomalacia, or LM for short, will host from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, a ‘Shop for a Cause’ Holiday Craft & Vendor Show.
The event will be held at the Leonardo First Aid & Rescue Squad, 32 Viola Ave., Leonardo, and will feature a gift auction, raffles, vendors, face painting for the children, and a catered lunch sponsored by Whole Foods. One hundred percent of the proceeds will help support “floppy larynx” babies from the local community as well as globally through various CWL-sponsored online support groups and programs.
The Westside Community Tree Lighting will be 4 p.m. Dec. 1 at Westside Park, Drs. James Parker Boulevard and Shrewsbury Avenue.
The festivities continue all month throughout town.
Every Saturday through Dec. 22 from noon to 3 p.m. shoppers can enjoy the sounds of the season with the Holiday Harmonies. Traditional carolers, choirs, brass bands, rock, folk, jazz and blues musicians will bring holiday tunes to the sidewalks of Red Bank.
Classic horse and carriage rides will be available from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 22, sponsored by Pauline Poyner and Red Bank RiverCenter.
A new event – “We Double Dog Dare You Scavenger Hunt” – will allow participants to visit the 50-plus businesses involved to search through Sunday, Dec. 16, for a hidden holiday character inspired by the holiday classic movie A Christmas Story. Shoppers will gather stamps on their hunt for every character they find, and once 15 are collected, they can be entered to win a Red Bank prize package.
The movie theme continues with the return of the popular, window-decorating contest. Businesses have been invited to decorate their windows using any holiday movie they choose. Shoppers can vote online at www.ACoolLittle Town.com through Sunday, Dec. 16, for their favorite windows.
Pictures with Santa will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 16 by TSS Photography at The Galleria, 2 Bridge Ave.
WEST LONG BRANCH
Monmouth University’s Department of Music and Theatre will present its annual salute to the holiday season at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, with this year’s production of Holiday Joy, a performance of seasonal favorites featuring student, faculty and special solo talents. The concert will be held in Wilson Hall amid the lights and greens of the season.
Among the performers will be the Monmouth University Chamber Singers and Concert Chorus, under the direction of Professor David Tripold, performing the classic In the Bleak Midwinter and Hanukah Remembrance.
The chamber orchestra, under the direction of Professor Michael Gillette, assisted by Professor Bryan Jenner, will perform Christmas Festiva and Ralph Vaugn Williams’ English Folk Song Suite. Returning from last year’s debut is the Harmonic Joules, the university glee club, under the direction of senior Jasmine Walker, performing The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire).
New this year are the opera workshop, under the direction of professors Mark Wilson and Kathleen Myrick, with student performers doing duets from The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart, and the Monmouth University Jazz Hawks, conducted by senior Jonah Santorello, performing songs by Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller.
The concert will finish with the astounding Exultation Ringers of the Colts Neck Reformed Church and then the combined concert chorus and ringers performing the traditional Hallelujah from The Messiah by Handel.
Tickets are $15 for standard admission and $5 for students.
Tickets and additional information are available by calling the box office at 732-263-6889 or visiting www.monmouth.edu/arts.