Have you noticed any changes in local traffic this summer? We all have. The increase in visitors this year is significant and impressive. I have never seen so many people on our beaches. This year our season beach badge sales increased by 11%. It’s a wonderful sight. And it’s not only on the beaches. Our downtown is also experiencing an influx of visitors. We are all very proud to be part of all this new activity. Only in Asbury Park!
This weekend we have number of events in the city:
The Asbury Park Blues & Brews Festival will be coming to Asbury Park this Saturday, July 18th. This will be the third year the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation has hosted this event in Bradley Park right outside the Paramount Theatre. There is a great line-up that includes the Asbury Park High School Jazz Band under the direction of Karen Schwartz that will open the show. We are gifted to have legendary blues guitarist Joe Louis Walker as the headliner. Take some time out from your day at the beach to enjoy this great festival.
On Saturday, the 10th Annual Family Day will take place on the 8th Avenue Beach. This is a free of charge event for Asbury Park and Neptune youth that will take place from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. There will be surf lessons, food, music, games and a ton of fun. The event is sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation, the City of Asbury Park, Libby’s, Lightly Salted, Asbury Park Education Association and the Boys & Girls Club. There will also be free transportation at 11:30am from the Boys & Girls Club, the Mercy Center Parking Lot and the West Side Community Center. For additional information contact Joe Woerner at 908.433.6128. Rain Date: July 19th. AT THE MOVIES: Featured films this week at the ShowRoom Cinema: Amy (R), A Borrowed Identity (Dancing Arabs) (NR), and Infinitely Polar Bear (R). Prepaid movie gift cards make wonderful every day or special occasion gifts – like a beautiful summer beach day. For more details go to www.theshowroomap.com .
A new exhibit: “The Asbury Connection” Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers – a look back through Photos, Videos & Memorabilia will open on Friday, July 17th at Where Music Lives, 708 Cookman Avenue. Only in Asbury Park Where Music Lives!
For a unique perspective on black music in Asbury Park and the rest of Monmouth County check out the exhibition “Spirituals to Soul: African American Musical Heritage in Monmouth, 1880 – 1980” now on exhibit at the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum, 70 Court Street, in Freehold NJ. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Asbury Park Historical Society and shares the important role Asbury Park played in establishing the careers of internationally know Black music stars. Through rare photos, recordings and artifacts, this exhibit traces their stories. The Monmouth County Historical Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and the exhibit will be on display until November 7, 2015. A must see!
Paranormal Books & Curiosities Ghost Tours continue: The Ghosts & Legends Downtown Tour takes place every Thursday at 8:00pm and Saturday at 7:00pm. The Ghosts of the Asbury Park Boardwalk tour happens every Friday at 8:00pm and Sundays at 7:00pm. Reservations are suggested. For additional info visit: www.paranoralbooksnj.com .
The Rotary Club of Asbury Park will be hosting a Bike Roundup on August 8th in Asbury Park to collect bikes for Second Life Bikes. Second Life Bikes is a non-profit corporation located at 21 Main Street. Second Life Bikes aims to provide the surrounding communities with the opportunity to purchase a mechanically refurbished bicycle at a reasonable cost, to buy parts and accessories, and to have their own bicycles repaired. Youths who work at Second Life Bikes put in 15 hours of time in exchange for a bicycle of their own, which they restore using the skills they’ve learned. In addition to gaining valuable practical skills, youths are exposed to the value of committing their time to a community organization. If you have a bike you would like to donate and cannot make it on August 8th, please reach out to me here and we will make arrangements to pick it up. Stay tuned for additional details.
The Rotary Club of Asbury Park had their Annual Instillation Dinner last Sunday and installed Trudy Grande as their new President. You may know her from the very successful Rotary Polar Plunge fundraiser that takes place on the Fifth Avenue beach every January. The Rotary is a service organization that provides program support and fundraising to support many of the initiatives that take place in Asbury Park. They also provide scholarships for Asbury Park High School students. If you are interested in learning more about Rotary, please reach out to me. Legendary journeymen Joe Petillo & Andy McDonough return to Pascal & Sabine on Wednesday July 22, at 7:00pm. This very cool musical evening is a perfect way to start your weekend slide.
I ran into local developer Pat Fasano on Tuesday and he gave me a tour of the new restaurant he is creating on Cookman Avenue, Mattison Avenue and Bond Street. You read that right. This new dining venue will house three different dining options all connected. There will be a pizza restaurant that fronts onto Cookman, a Mexican restaurant that fronts onto Mattison Avenue and the Bond Street Bar all connected. Pat has done an amazing job recycling materials from other projects and incorporating them into this new venue. It is already a very very cool place. Oh, and in the basement (where the Pinball Museum and Russo Music used to be) will be a lounge/game room. Stay tuned! Only in Asbury Park!
The FIRST EVER Asbury Park Art Star Craft Bazaar will take place next Saturday, July 25th from 11:00am to 7:00pm and Sunday, July 26th from 1:00am to 5:00pm in Bradley Park. This Bazaar will feature up to 50 of the Region’s Best Independent Art/Craft Vendors curated by Art Star, a Move For Hunger Activity Tent featuring hands-on art/craft projects or what we call “Make + Takes” for the entire family to enjoy, and Live Acoustic Music. The event is Free and Open to the public and will take place Rain or Shine. Put it on your calendar!
Also next weekend the Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival returns to Convention Hall. This amazing three day event provides a significant economic boost to the city. HUGE!
And of course the city will be filled with amazing music all weekend long. Besides the Blues & Brews Festival check out: Tonight: the Asbury Park Concert Band Jazz Night on the 5th Avenue boardwalk at 7:00pm and then walk up stairs to McLoone’s Supper Club and catch Steve Forbert. Friday: Umphrey’s McGee on the Stone Pony Summer Stage, Taylor Tote will be on stage at Where Music Lives, and We Used to Cut Grass performs at Langosta Lounge. Saturday: Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers with Eddie ‘Kingfish’ Manion at the Wonder Bar, Planes Mistaken for Stars at Asbury Lanes, and Kenhe at McLoone’s Asbury Grille Sunday: El Noordzo at The Anchor Bend, Pam McCoy at the Beach Bar and Ronnie Brandt at Langosta Lounge and Deal Casino at AP Yacht Club. That’s the short list. Go to the city’s web site : www.cityofasburypark.com for an almost but never complete listing of what’s happening this weekend.
I also want to mention a new program “Music for Kids” with Play Date (Greg Attonito of the Bouncing Souls & Shanti Wintergate) and the Lakehouse Lollies at Porta on Saturday from 2:00 to 4:00pm So buckle up for another amazing, cool, romantic, special, memorable weekend, Only in Asbury Park!
Thank you for supporting Asbury Park businesses.
Wishes for a warm, sunny, wonderful summer weekend,
Tom Gilmour Director of Economic Development, and Good Times
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Tom Gilmour serves as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Asbury Park and is responsible for special events and film permitting