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 township’s department of recreation and parks is holding its annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Town Hall. The program will feature the Colts Neck Brass Ensemble, lighting of the township Christmas tree, candy canes for children and hot chocolate and doughnuts for all. The highlight of the program will feature a special appearance of Santa Claus, who will visit with each child.
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 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.
– • –
Henry Hudson Regional Admiral Players will be presenting “Scrooge! The Musical.” Performances at the high school at 1 Grand Tour will be held: 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec.5; 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.
The borough’s tree lighting will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Little Silver Borough Hall, 480 Prospect Ave. The event will include carolers, cider and doughnuts.
Middletown Township Public Library will present the Chorus of the Atlantic in a traditional four-part harmony barbershop holiday concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at the 55 New Monmouth Road library. The free concert will be held in the community room. The chorus, which consists of 25 men, is supplemented by a smaller group called the Matinee Idles and several quartets.
Holiday festivities kick off on Friday, Nov. 29, with the Santa Express. A year after a “Sandy” hiatus, the Santa Express train, sponsored by The Galleria, will be traveling from Little Silver to Red Bank, departing Little Silver at 6:44 p.m. For those not taking the train ride from Little Silver, the grand celebration starts the evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Red Bank train station with Kathryn Barnett School of Dance performing some of its fun and festive holiday numbers and music by Atlantic Watch. When Santa arrives he will lead a parade down Monmouth Street on a fire truck after his train ride and continue to the annual Holiday Express concert.
– • –
Holiday Express again will be featured in concert for the 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, Red Bank town lighting at Board and Canal streets. The event is sponsored by Jersey Mike’s Subs, Shore Point Distributing Co. and Holly Crest Wines. The Red Bank Fire Department will be on hand with hot chocolate, Thunder 106.3 with giveaways and new this year, Radio Disney New York will be on site with music, games and prizes.
– • –
The Red Bank River Center’s Twelve Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt begins on Nov. 29 and 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.
– • –
Pictures with Santa will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 30 through Dec. 22 at The Galleria, 2 Bridge Ave. The annual event is sponsored by The Galleria & TSS Photography. Photo packages will be available for purchase.
– • –
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.
– • –
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 Barbizon Holiday Mannequins are back again. This favorite holiday tradition returns from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, as Barbizon’s best models “liven up” the store windows at participating businesses throughout the Red Bank business district. The special event is sponsored by Barbizon of Red Bank Modeling, Acting and Professional Development.
– • –
Red Bank Flavour, a culinary campaign driven by the borough’s top chefs, restaurateurs and proprietors, will hold its second annual Holiday Flavour event from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at The Molly Pitcher Inn.
Holiday Flavour will feature more than 20 of the town’s most popular restaurants and eateries at an exquisite culinary affair. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit The Parker Family Health Center, Red Bank PBA Local 39 McCarthy’s Children Fund and the Red Bank Flavour Culinary Alliance.
This year foodies will have a chance to win a special, multicourse tasting menu, curated by award-winning Chef Tom Colicchio, with wine pairings for two in the main dining room at Colicchio & Sons.
Attendees will be able to sip and sample an array of cuisine and cocktails. The charitable evening will include live music, a tree lighting, carolers and a winter wonderland on the hotel’s waterfront promenade. Additionally, a charity grab bag and outdoor hot chocolate bar, compliments of the Red Bank Starbucks, will be offered to guests.
Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door.
Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) will light the Hanukkah Menorah at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, on the eighth night of Hanukkah.
The menorah lighting will take place on the lawn of the synagogue grounds, 171 Ridge Road. Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl, Little Silver Mayor Robert Neff Jr. and other town dignitaries will join Rabbi Jeff Sultar, Cantor Dov Goldberg, CBI President Fran Semaya and the CBI religious school children in Hanukkah prayers and songs. The community is invited.
“In the past, we lit the menorah surrounded only with members of our congregation,” Semaya said. “This year, I look forward to greeting our town officials and neighbors and sharing the joy of the holiday as we sing Hanukkah songs and enjoy traditional Hanukkah treats. After the candle lighting, everyone is welcome to join me in the social hall for a hot beverage and some jelly doughnuts.”
“Hanukkah means ‘dedication’ and celebrates the rededication of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem after a military victory over the Seleucids,” Goldberg said. “At that time, just one day’s worth of oil was used to light the temple’s eternal flame but a miracle occurred and the oil stayed lit not just one day but for eight days. Today, in remembrance of that eternal flame, the Hanukkah menorah is lit for eight nights.”
In addition to the menorah lighting, Holiday Express will be presented with a check from the congregation to help with their mission.
Additional information about this event or other CBI event is available by contacting the synagogue director, Emilie Kovit-Meyer, at 732-842-1800, ext. 203 or visiting www.cbirumson.org.
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.
There will be a menorah lighting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the town gazebo at 419 Shrewsbury Ave.
– • –
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.
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.