FREEHOLD, NJ – March brings whiffs of warm air, budding trees and the urge to get active again – and Monmouth County is a great place to experience it.

There’s nothing like a parade to usher in the month, and thanks to the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Belmar that is exactly what we will have on Monday, March 6. Highlands keeps the spirit alive with its ninth annual St. Patrick’s Say Parade on March 19.

Find these and other events on the county Division of Tourism’s Calendar of Events, easily accessed by clicking the Tourism icon at www.visitmonmouth.com. It’s a comprehensive list of things to do, many of which are free and all are family friendly. It’s updated daily, so check it often.

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Spring at Holmdel Park

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

If St. Patrick’s Day celebrations aren’t enough to warm your heart, March 14 is Daylight Savings Time, when we turn our clocks ahead one hour. There’s also music, dance, theater, film, athletics and … weddings. More on that later.

March festivities begin at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre March 1 with the world-renowned Riverdance, the Irish steppers of Broadway and television fame. Belmar’s Celtic Chase/Beach Fun Run is Mar. 5, as is the Irish Pub band The Prodigals at Manasquan’s Algonquin Arts Theatre. The Algonquin continues the Irish theme with the John B. Keane plays “Big Maggie” Mar. 10 through March 13, and Many Young Men of Twenty headline March 17 through 19.

Irish folk music with Three Pints Shy enlivens Historic Allaire Village at Allaire State Park, Wall Township, Mar. 11 and12, followed by St. Patrick’s Day in the 1830s March 13. “Dublin’s Traditional Irish Cabaret” is staged at the Count Basie March 13.

You don’t have to be Irish to join the fun, or to do any of the following, either:

  • “Creativity and Your Photography/Vision Photographic Workshop, March 4 through March 6 at The Atlantic View Inn, Avon;
  • The legendary western swing/outlaw country band Asleep at the Wheel is at the Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, March 4;
  • Asbury Park’s First Saturday is March 5;
  • The 2011 E. Murray Todd Half Marathon courses through Lincroft, Holmdel and Colts Neck on March 6;
  • “Give Peace a Chance,” celebrating John Lennon, debuts a three-month show at the Monmouth Museum at Brookdale Community College on March 6;
  • The Sandy Hook Spring Birding Program explores Raritan Bay March 12 and 26;
  • “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music” is part of Asbury Park’s year-long “Where Music Lives” series debuts a two-month display March 12;
  • “Candida,” the play of love and intrigue, is Mar. 22 through April 10 at Red Bank’s Two River Theater Co., and,
  • The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra offers “The Best of Spanish Flair at the Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, March 19, and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra will play March 20.

Now, about those weddings. The “Red Bank Wedding Walk” showcases the borough as the one-stop destination for everything nuptial on March 12. The “Dazzle My Wedding” Bridal Show brings vendors aplenty to the Radisson Hotel, Freehold, on March 20.

One of the great events of the year is the Garden State Film Festival March 31 through April 3 in Asbury Park. Its weekend of long and short independent film and documentaries is gaining national recognition and celebrity attendance. It’s become a must for film aficionados.

March ends with Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Bobby Rydell singing at the Count Basie Theatre, and the Newark Boys Choir appears at Collier Youth Services in Marlboro and includes a gourmet buffet.

Details of each event can be found at the Calendar of Events at www.visitmonmouth.com and clicking on the Tourism icon. Stop by often as events are added frequently.