LBIfest Brings on Summer This SaturdayFood, Music, Shopping, Fun in Brant Beach
“Bring on the summer,” as LBIfest invites! It’s time again for a free full day of early-summer fun this Saturday, June 9 at 68th Street and Long Beach Boulevard, Brant Beach, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This is the third year of the event that has doubled its draw every year. Last year 9,000 people of all ages came by for food, music, shopping, local artists and crafters’ market, kids’ amusements and demonstrations.
“It’s a fun thing to do for the whole family,” said George Gahles, president of the Long Beach Island Business Alliance, which sponsors the event.
The parking lot of the Long Beach Township municipal complex fills with big-top tents, and the activities spill out into the grassy adjacent ballfield and across the Boulevard to Bayview Park, where there are more tents, more music and in-water demonstrations on the bay.
“We have four tents, nine bands, the bayside is open for picnicking, you can buy food and drinks, there are bouncy machines and other things for your kids to do, stand-up paddling on the bay. It’s a nice family day,” summed up Gahles. Surf gear is just one of the early summer finds at row after row of vendors’ tables.
The band line-up is an array of music from early surfing sounds (The Brigantines) to bar band favorites who play locally and around the country.
AJ Stone will play both acoustic solo and also with his band, the AJ Stone and the Karma Robbers. Singer-songwriter Ted Hammock will be there with upbeat acoustic pop; and all day will be nonstop (well, except for maybe a break) entertainment from other talent such as The Dan Brown Duo, The Following, The 559s, The Castoffs, and Steve Felberg.
Longtime locals will remember Felberg with the band Session, and for LBIfest he’s flying in from Colorado as a favor to old buddy Zack Kerzner, one of the event’s organizers. Kerzner has been running around with phones attached to both ears, practically, to get the entertainment lineup together.
Two beer trucks will bring variety to the refreshment choices. Wine is on the drink menu, too – it goes well with the fare that will be for sale from local restaurants attending.
Vendor spaces are sold out for the nearly 70 places under the shopping/display tents, and a number of others will be set up outside the tents, Gahles said.
Parking is streetside in the nearby neighborhood for those who are early, but a better idea is to catch the free buses, which will run all day on a route from Harvey Cedars to Holgate. Stops will be marked with signs, and are usually located at places where off-street parking is more plentiful.
There is no rain date, but organizers were optimistic early in the week that the good forecast will hold out.
A new promotion this year is the rubber wristbands that, for the small price of $2, will entitle the wearer to special deals at member Alliance businesses.
Proceeds from wristband sales, as well as from other aspects of the LBIfest will support the Southern Ocean Medical Center Foundation.
“The wristbands have a dual purpose of benefiting the hospital, and also you get discounts all year long, not just all season long, at participating Alliance business establishments,” said Gahles.
For more details on the wristband promotion and the festival, go to lbifest.com. The wristband promo/fundraiser got a big boost last week when Nardi’s owner John Brennan donated one each to Long Beach Island schoolchildren for their families to use.
To learn more about the business alliance, see the organization’s website, njlbi.com.
Sponsors of LBIfest include Barlow Chevrolet/Buick/GMC, Community Catalyst Fund, Lakewood Blue Claws, Long Beach Island Business Alliance, Magic 100.1 radio, Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, Stella Artois, The SandPaper, Township of Long Beach and Verizon.
— Maria Scandale