Monmouth County offers history, romance and more


FREEHOLD, NJ – The calendar shows February as the shortest month. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at the long list of Monmouth County activities.

First up are the holidays. February boasts Lincoln’s birthday, Washington’s birthday and Valentine’s Day. History, romance and chocolate make for interesting times, and Monmouth County’s Calendar of Events offers plenty of options, including music, plays, art exhibits and more.

Find them all at the Division of Tourism’s Calendar of Events, easily accessed by clicking the tourism icon at It’s a comprehensive list of things to do, see and hear, many of which are free and all are family friendly. It’s updated daily, so check it often.

Or, call 1-800-523-2587 for a packet of information to be mailed to you, or visit the office at One E. Main St., Freehold, to browse the extensive selection of literature.

Warm your heart this Valentine’s Day with music, drama or chocolate. Ocean Grove will celebrate chocolate on Feb. 19 with Chocolate Lovers’ Weekend, replete with a walking tour, a heart hunt and prizes. Then there’s Michael Amante’s Valentine’s Day concert at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre on Feb. 11, and singer Brett Colby’s “My Funny Valentine” at Manasquan’s Algonquin Arts Theatre on Feb. 12. Or take in the romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park on February weekends, beginning Feb. 11, at Freehold’s Center Playhouse

Join friends at Historic Allaire Village in Wall on Feb. 20 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. Feb. 25 brings Cesar Milan, “the dog whisperer,” to the Count Basie Theatre to explain the mysteries of dogs and their owners.

February can be chilly at times, leading many people to stay indoors. But getting out and about to concerts, plays, movies and art shows will thaw you out and keep you moving.

Here is a partial list of diversions and enlightenment to make this shortest of months speed by:  Idina Menzel and the renowned New Jersey Symphony Orchestra present an evening of classical and theater favorites at the Count Basie Theatre on Feb. 3. James Alexander sings Johnny Mercer at Manasquan’s Algonquin Theater on Feb. 5 and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra appears at the Count Basie Theatre Feb. 6. Blues lovers will head there Feb. 13 when Jimmy Cobb’s So What Band brings the “Kind of Blue 50th Anniversary Tour.”

The Count Basie Theatre has an impressive list of concerts throughout the month. Check the Calendar of Events for details.

Monmouth University in West Long Branch adds to the mix with music and dance. Ailey ll, the dance troupe named for famed choreographer Alvin Ailey, brings some of the country’s best young talent to Pollack Theatre on Feb. 13. Leahy, eight musical brothers and sisters from Canada, appear there on Feb. 25. Opera aficionados will feast on a live broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of “Iphigenie En Tauride” on Feb. 26.

Art exhibits are provocative and varying this month. “Combat Paper Project Exhibition,” an exhibit of art on paper made from military uniforms, continues throughout the month at the New Jersey Vietnam Era Museum, Garden State Parkway Exit 116 in Holmdel. “The 32nd Annual Juried Art Exhibition” features fine artists from the tri-state region and east coast. It runs through Feb. 27 at the Monmouth Museum at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. The museum also continues “Chairish the Museum Exhibition and Silent Auction,” a display and sale of chairs designed and decorated by local artists.

Red Bank’s Two River Theater maintains its creative ways with “A Thousand Clowns,” a comedy about a free spirit’s interaction with bureaucrats, through Feb. 20.

Need fresh air? Asbury Park’s famed First Saturday shopping, dining and browsing is Feb 5. Sandy Hook invites the hearty to a winter birding program on Feb. 26.

The Calendar of Events includes links to all programs. Click on regularly because events are added frequently.