The event was cancelled on Nov. 14.
The dates for Holmdel Township's first-ever "Winterfest" three-day festival have been officially announced.
The multi-faceted outdoor event on the grounds of scenic Bayonet Farm on Middletown Road will be held on afternoons through the evenings of November 30 - Dec. 2.
"In the 20 years I've lived in Holmdel, there's never been anything like this," said Mayor Patrick Impreveduto. The recent 'Rock Around the Park' event on Sept. 14, held outdoors at Cross Park with fireworks and a movie, drew 1,000 people, he said. "Apparently residents are clamoring for events like this, and we're happy to be able to offer them at basically no cost to the taxpayer."
Winterfest will be paid for through money obtained through a state grant, corporate donations, a $5 per car parking fee, vendor fees, and sales of a commemorative Holmdel Winterfest Christmas ball, said the mayor.
Those involved in the planning say they can't wait to see it happen.
"As soon as you come down the road leading to the farm, you're going to see a 14-foot Christmas tree," said Deborah Dow, Holmdel Parks & Recreation Dept. Coordinator. "To the right is going to be the carousel. It's going to be huge, and it's wonderful because even if you have young children you can hold the child and ride it."
The trees, historic Harding House, barns and paths will be decked in tens of thousands of glittering lights. There will be a full size 45-foot Ferris Wheel to complement the carousel, and a 50 x 100 (synthetic) ice skating rink. (Skates will be available!)
Inside the red barn will be a coffeehouse with hot chocolate, warm cider and food. The Kiwanis of Holmdel will offer cold beer and wine and drinks featuring Laird's Applejack, an apple brandy-based whiskey distilled in Colts Neck.
There will be a village of 15 small cottages and individually decorated as vendor booths in the style of an outdoor German Weihnachtsmarkt. (The selling spaces are actually sheds which the township purchased with a state grant, which they can retain for future use.)
Carolers will stroll the grounds, and musical entertainers such as Greg Roberts, Crangrapes, Allison LaRochelle, Goldenseal, Beth Anne Clayton, The Jonzes, will perform in the Red Barn, and under a tent that holds 340 people.
For the finale Sunday, Brian Kirk and Jirks will perform a special concert at 1 p.m..
"I think the continuous bands are going to be phenomenal," said Dow.
Santa Claus will make a visit and sit for photos with children inside the Harding House for a few hours on each day.
Here is the Winterfest schedule:
- Friday, Nov. 30: 5 - 10 p.m.; Visit Santa 6 - 9 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 1: 3 - 10 p.m.; Visit Santa 4 - 8 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 2: Noon to 6 p.m.; Visit Santa 1 - 4 p.m.
Parking is $5 per car load. There is no fee for rides, ice skating or live entertainment, but the township will be hosting Toys for Tots in the Red Barn, and is encouraging attendees of this event to bring an unwrapped toy.
The Gray Barn will be used by organizers and will not be included in the fair.
Corporate sponsors who have made donations as of Oct. 18 include Home Depot Team Depot; Jersey Central Power & Light; T &M Associates, Lairds & Co. and ServPro of Aberdeen/Holmdel. Mayor Impreveduto said he believes even more donations will be arriving at Town Hall in coming weeks.