Assumed to be New Jersey's largest free food and music festival, Red Bank RiverFest kicks off tonight for the first of three straight days of family fun in Marine Park.
The event includes plenty of area food vendors, including nine from Red Bank, and more than a dozen musical acts performing in a variety of styles. Action kicks off tonight with a distinct local flair as the Red Bank School of Rock hits the stage at 5 p.m.
Other Friday night musical acts include, Bruce Foster at 6 p.m., Quincy Mumford and the Reason Why at 7:15 p.m., and Tim McLoone and the Shirleys at 8:30 p.m.
The music picks up again on Saturday with Miss Sherri and the Animal Band hitting the stage at 11:15 a.m. Pat Guadagno and Friends perform at 12:30 p.m. followed by Rob Paparozzi at 2:15 p.m., Brian Kirk and the Jirks at 4 p.m., The Jazz Lobsters at 6 p.m., BethAnne Clayton Band at 7:30 p.m., and JoBonanno and the Godsons of Soul at 8:30 p.m.
On Sunday, the music plays on with four afternoon performances. Sheldon Edmonds takes the stage at 11:30 a.m. followed by the Chuck Lambert Band at 1 p.m., Mr. Ray at 2:30 p.m., and Motor City Revue at 4 p.m.
Of course, attendance is free and visitors are welcome to bring blankets or appropriate portable seating to Marine Park to enjoy as little or as much of the music as possible.
On to the food. Though local Red Bank restaurant attendance is down from last year, plenty of local flair still highlights the culinary offerings available at Red Bank RiverFest. Borough eateries the Cupcake Magician, Danny's Grill and Wine Bar, Temple Chinese, the Bistro at Red Bank, Gaetano's, Foodtown of Red Bank, New Corner Italian Restaurant, Sicilia Cafe, and Tommy's Coal Fired Pizza are joined by a number of other area food establishments.
Music and food are the highlights of the event, though they're not all that's available at RiverFest. For families, there's the Children's Palace, a section dedicated to kids complete with rides, games and other youthful activities. Visitors are also able to take a tour of the Navesink River, and adults are welcome to attend the dockside beer garden.
Vendors will be available at RiverFest, too, offering handmade jewelry and artwork, among other things.
For more information, visit www.redbankriverfest.org.