From Gershwin to Halloween

FREEHOLD, NJ – The air is a little crisper and the days are getting shorter, but there’s an energy only early autumn seems to provide, thanks no doubt to October’s many charms.

Monmouth County has charms aplenty all the time, but October is special. The hardy still hit the beaches; the adventurous hike through the county’s many pristine parks; footballers take to fields, and of course, there’s Halloween. What’s in between gives October its special character.

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You can grab onto the last bit of summer at Clean Ocean Actions’ 12th Annual Sunset at Sandy Hook on Oct. 1; the Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training Association’s Horse Trials at the Horse Park of New Jersey on Oct. 31; Oct. 2 brings Gershwin to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre and the 12th Annual Oktoberfest to Highlands; the comedy “The Royal Family” is in Spring Lake, and the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge is Oct. 16 and 17.

Halloween hayrides are at Historic Allaire Village in Wall on Oct. 15 and 16; the Park Systems’ Thompson Park Day in Lincroft is Oct. 17, and ballroom dance champions are at Monmouth University Oct. 22.

All of the events are detailed at the Monmouth County Department of Tourism’s Calendar of Events. It’s updated daily at www.visitmonmouth.com, or can be obtained with a packet of information by writing to the department at 1 E. Main St., Freehold, N.J., 07728. Or, visit the lobby to select information of your choice. Call 800 523-2587 to request delivery.

 

October is also the traditional harvest time, and that’s cause for celebration in Monmouth County. The 13th Annual Country Jamboree means food, music and entertainment in Keyport Oct. 9-10. Ocean Grove’s famed Fall Harvest Festival and Craft Show is Oct. 9; Belmar presents antiques, crafts, food, pumpkin decorating and more on Oct. 10, and Manasquan’s Fall Harvest Celebration has pie contests, food, games and more on Oct. 23.

Sea Bright’s Taste of Sea Bright trolley on Oct. 2 is a Halloween-themed jaunt to borough restaurants and features costume contests and entertainment. The 6th Annual Russian and Slavic Festival at St. Alexander Nevsky Church in Howell on Oct. 10 is a feast of ethnic food, culture and live performances.

More highlights: Historic Walnford Day, Oct. 3; “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Oct. 8-9, and the fall flea market, Oct. 9, are at Historic Allaire Village; the Irish National Dance Company is at  Count Basie Theatre on Oct. 8; the Antique & Collectible Show, Ocean Grove, is Oct. 9; Columbus Day Re-enactment, Asbury Park beach, is Oct. 11; Spring Lake’s Columbus Day Festival and Art Walk is Oct. 9.

Also, Clean Ocean Action’s 25th Annual Fall Beach Sweeps takes place on Oct. 23; A Taste of Spring Lake Kitchen Tour is Oct. 23; Horseback Riding for the Handicapped of NJ, is Oct. 23 at Horse Park of New Jersey; “History Through Your Lens” photo workshop is at Historic Allaire Village on Oct. 23; Rogers and Hammerstein’s Classics in Concert is at Manasquan’s Algonquin Theatre Oct. 24, and the comedy “Opus” is at the Two River Theater in Red Bank.

Halloween begins Oct. 10 with free pumpkins and a costume parade at Historic Allaire Village. Its popular Halloween hayrides are Oct. 15 and 16. The Atlantic Highlands Historical Society’s Halloween-themed lantern tour of the Strauss Museum and environs is Oct. 29 and 30.

And what Halloween would be complete without a Grateful Dead Tribute? It’s Oct. 30 at the Count Basie Theatre. Finally Monmouth Park blends racing and Halloween on Oct. 31, and the Asbury Park Children’s Halloween Parade on the boardwalk is Oct. 31.

Please visit the Tourism Department’s Web page for more information at www.vistimonmouth.com.