FREEHOLD, NJ – There are all sorts of reasons why May is a great month to visit Monmouth County: the days are warmer, the beaches aren’t crowded, parks are buzzing with activities and the out of doors is calling you to explore. There is much to do and see before summer’s arrival. 

The Monmouth County Division of Tourism can help you get started. The best resource is the county’s Calendar of Events at www.visitmonmouth.com. Just a simple click or two will get you a bountiful list of fun and festivities. You can also call 800-523-2587 to have a packet of information mailed to you, or stop by 1 E. Main St., Freehold to browse the tourism literature racks between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The calendar is updated nearly every day.

From bird watching to farm markets and sidewalk sales to Memorial Day parades there will be music, art, live performances and a Civil War encampment during the merry month of May.

Sunday, May 1 is the last day of “Weekend in Old Monmouth,” where 40 of Monmouth County’s historic sites will be open from noon to 5 p.m. May 1 is also the first day of “Paint the Town Pink” in Red Bank, a weeklong breast cancer awareness event in stores and restaurants.

Local farm markets kick off their season in Atlantic Highlands on Friday, May 6. Belmar’s farmer’s market is each Saturday, beginning May 7. For other town farm markets, check the county’s tourism calendar at visitmonmouth.com.

The New Jersey Audubon Society’s Sandy Hook bird walk season begins its Thursday morning schedule starting May 5.

“Heiress,” a historical drama set in New York City’s Washington Square Park, has 10 dates beginning May 1 at Center Playhouse, Freehold, and the Metropolitan Opera Encore broadcasts at Monmouth University beginning May 6 with “Capriccio.” Other performances are scheduled throughout the month.

How about a Taste of Bradley Beach on May 21 followed with the spring flea market at Historic Allaire Village in Wall on May 22? Or, there’s the Taste of Manasquan and “Il Trovatore: Met Opera Encore Broadcast in HD” at Monmouth University, West Long Branch. on May 22?

Memorial Day weekend begins with Wall Stadium’s first cruise night of the season on May 27. It’s also opening night for the Broadway musical “Chicago” at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.

Memorial Day weekend also includes the May 28 Bradley Beach parade and the annual Beach Arts and Crafts Fair on the boardwalk. The “Spring Lake 5” and Race Day Sidewalk Sale are May 28. Sunday, May 29 features Monmouth Park Memorial Day Weekend (“Brats, Burgers and Beer”), “Art in the Park in Long Branch” and the 11th annual Seaport Craft Show in Highlands.

Atlantic Highlands holds its Memorial Day parade May 30. There will be a ceremony at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Holmdel the same day. Be sure to visit the calendar regularly to see the list of other parades and events that have been added.

Monmouth County is the place you want to be this May with all sorts of other events and activities:

  • ·Gary Dates, photographer, will show his work through May 29 at the Monmouth Museum, Brookdale Community College, in Lincroft;
  • ·Manasquan’s May sidewalk sale is May 13 and14, rain or shine;
  • ·The First Presbyterian Church of Matawan presents “20th Century” May 13 and14, and May 20 and 21;
  • ·The Belmar Kite Festival and Townwide Yard Sale is May 14 and 15;
  • ·Historic Allaire Village, Wall, hosts a Civil War encampment May 14 and15;
  • ·“Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” is performed at the Two River Theater Co., Red Bank, May 17 through June 5;
  • · “March for Babies,” one of the oldest walking events, is on the Asbury Park Boardwalk May 1;
  • ·The Orchestra of St. Peter by The Sea performs Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” at the Algonquin Arts Theatre, Manasquan, May 1;
  • ·May 7 features the Ocean Grove Music and Arts Festival; The Spirit of the NJ State History Fair at Historic Allaire Village, Wall; The Family Funathon at Thompson Park in Middletown, and “Old Time Rock ’n’ Roll, Vol. 2” at the Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank;
  • ·The History Channel’s hugely popular “Pawn Stars” cast appears at the Count Basie, Red Bank, May 8;
  • ·Atlantic Highlands’ Townwide Yard Sale is May 14;
  • ·“Dream Girls Once in a Lifetime Performance” is staged at Asbury Park’s venerable Paramount Theater May 14, and
  • ·The world-renowned New Jersey Symphony Orchestra appears at The Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, May 15.

Log on to www.visitmonmouth.com for the complete list of events.