It’s October already, and another summer has come and gone here at the Jersey Shore. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that the times in the year that I enjoy so much go by so quickly. For me, that would be summertime. I didn’t go in anyone’s pool or head to the beach the entire summer, but that was OK. I got to do what I wanted to do, and isn’t that the way the summer should be spent?
I went to a ton of concerts this past summer – all free – courtesy of the City of Long Branch. Once again, Festival Plaza at Pier Village and The Gazebo at West End Park were the place to be all summer long. For most of the scheduled concerts, the weather was terrific, with hardly a cancellation due to rain.
I even ventured outside Long Branch for some fun in the sun. This past summer, my daughter played in two dodgeball tournaments on the beach by Convention Hall. It was great to see her show off her athletic prowess, right before starting school as a physical education major at Kean University.
Now normally, with my son going into his senior year at high school, you’d think we’d be doing the college tour thing with him. But we were smart, went the year before, and got most of the visits out of the way. Two new entries hit my son’s college tour list over the last couple of months – the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology. We headed north to see those two schools recently, way before the early snow falls up there.
As for myself, things kicked off terrific. The car show at the Promenade on Father’s Day was a great start to the Summer of Retro 2012, since we were only a few days in at that point.
The highlight of the summer (and has been for the last 16 years for me) was Oceanfest. Every year, I can’t get over the amount of people who walked up and down the Promenade to enjoy the festivities. Food trucks and craft vendors galore. . .three-on-three basketball. . .it really is the state’s largest 4th of July celebration – and the best. My summer tan usually gets started at Oceanfest and lasts until Labor Day.
Finally, there was the Long Branch Jazz & Blues Festival in late August, with 8 bands performing free of charge and sponsored by the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation. This is shaping up to be an annual event here in Long Branch. I for one am so glad – great music on the Great Stage, great people.
Scattered throughout the summer were the almost-daily power walks up and down the boardwalk and through Pier Village. . .the visits to The Lighthouse with my daughter. . .chocolate runs to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. . .I could go on and on.
So there you have it, the Summer of Retro 2012 rundown. It’s good times like these that make me proud to say that Long Branch is my kind of town, and the Jersey Shore is where it's at.
(You can also follow Kevin Cieri’s blog on his Facebook page, “Jersey Shore Retro” as well as on Twitter at @jsretro).