Bar Crawl Attempts to Replace Red Bank's KaBoom! Fireworks
Bummed about no KaBoom! this year? Dress up as Uncle Sam and hit the town instead.
Residents across Monmouth County may be bummed that Red Bank decided to discontinue its KaBoom! Fireworks Display on the Navesink River due to rising costs, at least for this year, but there is still reason to head to the town this week. A pub crawl taking place this Saturday is an attempt to help make up for the lost Independence Day celebration.
Billed as the best fireworks show in New Jersey and one of the tops in the country, the annual July 3rd extravaganza served as the greatest bit of advertising for a small town that often considers itself a major metropolitan hub. When 100,000 to 150,000 people descended on the borough's downtown and riverfront areas each year to catch the half-hour fireworks extravaganza, it not only brought attention to Red Bank, but business as well.
But, that's gone now. At least for this year.
In an effort to promote Red Bank's businesses, Alex and Dan's Good Time Committee is hosting a Patriotic Pub Crawl this weekend to support local businesses and raise money for Red Bank RiverCenter, the downtown's marketing arm. The idea was pitched to Alex Federico and Dan Campbell, the guys who hosted Red Bank's first ever SantaCon back in December, by local businessman Ted Kaiser, who was looking for ways to help the borough's downtown businesses fill the void created by the canceled fireworks show.
"As a business owner I feel strongly that events like (KaBoom!) bring visibility to the town and the local businesses in it," he said. "Even if the businesses don't benefit the night of the fireworks, people are coming to Red Bank, they see what's here and ultimately they come back and spend their money here. I just felt like it was an opportunity Red Bank was missing out on."
Kaiser, who deals in scrap plastic and recycling, isn't involved in any downtown businesses but said he feels a responsibility to support those who are. After the fireworks were canceled, he said he and a friend reached out to KaBoom! and Red Bank officials asking how they could help bring fireworks back this year, at least in some capacity, but were mostly met with silence.
First they organized a Facebook group, then a Kickstarter campaign to generate cash, and ultimately, with the reality that fireworks weren't happening having set in, they turned to the Good Time Committee.
"We're just trying to bring people out here to patronize local businesses," Federico said. "We want to give (businesses) something to look forward to. It's not 150,000 people, but it's something.
"This is something we can all kind of rally around. We want to tell Red Bank that we need something to come back. Maybe not as large in scale, but to go from the largest fireworks show in New Jersey to nothing, that's a big deal. Any opportunity that arrises to support the community is something we're going to participate in."
The Good Time Committee was formed a couple of years ago and has since put on a number of pub crawls around town. In December, more than a hundred Santas took to the streets, stopping along each bar along the way. This time around, participants are asked to don their most patriotic outfits. Come out in your best red, white and blue to celebrate the Fourth of July and America's independence.
The event is being held this Saturday, July 7. The launch spot is the Dublin House on Monmouth Street in Red Bank where the group will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. before heading out to the next location. Registrants will be given a t-shirt and American Flag bandana and prizes will be awarded to the most patriotic outfits of the day.
Registration at the door is $20. Registration prior to the day of is $15 and can be done online. Federico encourages all those interested to register early to guarantee themselves a t-shirt. Proceeds go to Red Bank RiverCenter.