Centennial plans taking shape in R.B.

Parade, community picnic among 100th year festivities


RED BANK – Centennial preparations are under way in Red Bank with the official 100th Anniversary logo to be announced this week.

The 100th Anniversary Committee was appointed by Mayor Pasquale Menna last March and has been working on events to take place in 2008 to commemorate the borough’s centennial year.

“We’ll be announcing the logo next week at the council meeting [ Feb. 27],” Pam Borghi, Centennial Committee secretary and borough public information officer, said of the committee’s upcoming plans.

A logo contest had been under way since October, and once the logo has been announced it will be used this year as a complement to the borough’s existing seal, which currently consists of an image of an iceboat on the Navesink River.

The first event to inaugurate the borough’s centennial celebrations kicked off earlier this year in January with a blessing of the waters of the Navesink River for the first time in Red Bank’s history.

At the request of Menna, the event was hosted by the 98-year-old Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas on Pearl Street on Jan. 19.

“We’re focusing on the big events in May. The other ones don’t take as much planning,” Borghi said of the 100th Anniversary Committee’s preparations.

Members of the Centennial Committee include former Mayors Michael J. Arnone and Edward J. McKenna Jr., Historic Preservation Commission Chairman George Bowden, Maria Gagliano, Paulette Roberts, artist Evelyn Leavens, Maeble Hairston, Riverview Medical Center President Timothy Hogan, and Menna as an ex-officio member.

Borghi said the committee has grown since Menna’s 2007 appointment and now includes a cross section of community members including business representatives, residents and borough officials.

Borghi said although committee meetings are not open to the public, anyone interested should contact the mayor about being placed on the committee.

Two of the largest events being planned by the committee include the Centennial Parade and the free Community Picnic at Count Basie Park in May, according Borghi.

The parade, which will take place May 17, will kick off at 11 a.m. and will encompass the entire town with a tentative parade route along Broad Street, Monmouth Street, Bridge Avenue, Bergen Place and ending at Count Basie Park for the picnic, according to Borghi.

The parade marshal will be First Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Forgione, according to Menna.

On May 18, the local boat clubs are planning a boat parade/regatta to take place on the Navesink River.

Borghi said planning for that event is still in the preliminary stages.

Borghi also said a fundraiser cocktail party to honor former Red Bank mayors is being planned for May 6.

She said invitations are going to be sent out shortly and the funds raised will go toward centennial expenses.

“There is a restaurant promotion that is in the planning stages. We may hear about that at the next meeting [March 4]. Whether it is going to be a special menu or special pricing, that is still going to be discussed, as well as a possible retail promotion later in the year,” said Borghi.

According to Menna, the centennial celebration would include a visit by international figures such as an apostolic nuncio, or delegate of the Pope, and the dedication and rededication of the Fire Department Memorial at Borough Hall.

Also on Menna’s list of events are a centennial-themed Jazz and Blues Festival and the dedication of a memorial for Red Bank native William “Count” Basie at the train station.