Winter Wonderland, a disco party and 7 other things to do at the Jersey Shore this weekend

·7 min read

You better watch out: There are less than 20 days left until Christmas.

If you haven't finished shopping (or haven't even started), or are not feeling the Christmas spirit yet, don't worry!

Here are 9 things to do this weekend in Monmouth and Ocean counties — from a holiday pop-up in Red Bank to a Winter Wonderland in Manahawkin to a disco party featuring a former member of the Village People — that are sure to make you feel jolly and merry and bright.

Who knows? You may even start humming a holiday tune.

Bayshore Bazaar in Keyport

Former market hosted by the Asbury Park Bazaar's 2021 Holiday Bazaar Series.
Former market hosted by the Asbury Park Bazaar's 2021 Holiday Bazaar Series.

The Holiday Bazaar series is hitting the Bayshore area this Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at 3 BR Distillery.

The distillery, which is the only one in the world that uses 100% garden peas in their spirits, will feature craft cocktails (inspired by Russian ingredients) to try amid holiday shopping opportunities and holiday tunes. Local vendors will feature vintage items as well as handmade arts, jewelry, home goods and more. A list of vendors can be viewed here.

For an authentic Russian holiday, check out the Russian Santa Show from 1 to 2 p.m., which features Father Frost a.k.a. Russian Santa, joined by a witch and snow princess. Patrons can stay after to snap a photo with Santa by the holiday tree and photo station, which was designed by Lauren Michael Events.

3 BR Distillery is at 7 Main St., Keyport. For more information, visit asburyparkbazaar.com or email team@asburyparkbazaar.com.

Winter Wonderland in Manahawkin

The Manahawkin Train Station at Heritage Park.
The Manahawkin Train Station at Heritage Park.

The Stafford Township Recreation Department will be hosting its inaugural Winter Wonderland and Christmas Market this Saturday from 1 to 7 p.m. at Heritage Park, featuring an array of vendors.

There will be shopping, food trucks, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, live entertainment and more. Additionally, The Stafford Township Parent Teacher Organization will be hosting its first Winter Wonderland Gift Auction. The drawing begins at 5 p.m. Most gifts have been donated by local businesses, and include a night at Kalahari Resorts Waterpark, Philadelphia Eagles tickets, a Lottery Wreath, and a Restaurant Gift Card Tree. There also will be baskets available, made by the township’s preschool through 6th grade students.

A free shuttle bus service will operate throughout the event from the Stafford Township Municipal Complex at 260 East Bay Ave. in Manahawkin. Visitors can park at Town Hall and hop aboard one of the “Dial-A-Ride Sleighs” and get dropped off at Heritage Park.

Heritage Park is on West Bay Avenue, just west of Route 9 and across from A. Paul King Park, on Manahawkin Lake. For more information on the auction, visit Facebook. For more information on the Winter Wonderland, contact Stafford Township Recreation at 609-597-1000, ext. 8557, or email jhazelton@staffordnj.gov.

Boat tours and more at Tuckerton Seaport

Holiday boat tour at Tuckerton Seaport.
Holiday boat tour at Tuckerton Seaport.

This is the last weekend to visit Tuckerton Seaport for their 12 Days of Christmas, which features holiday boat tours of Tuckerton Creek through Dec 12. The 50-minute tour offers stories about holiday celebrations specific to the area, such as when Tuckerton trees saved Christmas for New York City. Patrons are encouraged to bundle up and bring a blanket.

Visitors who are not interested in a boat tour can explore the museum and grounds for $5 (free to members), which will be decorated in holiday lights.

There will be an outdoor Reindeer Scavenger taking place, and those interested should stop at the Lighthouse upon arrival for details.

A Pop-Up Holiday Gift Shop will sell Christmas wreaths and more, and gingerbread cookie decorating takes place Saturday and Sunday for a $5 add on, by Sinfully Delicious Bakery.

Boat tickets are $15 per person, and include admission to the Lighthouse and Make-and-Take Craft area, hosted by Jersey Family Fun. Seaport members can use promo code HOLIDAY.

Tuckerton Seaport is at 120 W. Main St. For more information, call 609-296-8868, email brookes@tuckertonseaport.org or visit tuckertonseaport.org.

Two River Theater's annual Holiday Pop-up

A vendor at Two River's Holiday pop-up event.
A vendor at Two River's Holiday pop-up event.

Two River Theater in Red Bank will be hosting its second annual family-friendly Holiday Pop-up outdoors in its plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

There will be complimentary hot chocolate from JBJ Soul Kitchen, live holiday carols by the Monmouth Civic Chorus, arts and crafts stations, a festive photo station, story times and more. The event is free, but registration is requested here.

Two River Theater is at 21 Bridge Ave. For more information, call 732-345-1400 or visit tworivertheater.org

The Wag's Christmas Spectacular at The Strand

Central Jersey pop-rock quartet The Wag presents its Christmas Spectacular on Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Strand Theater in Lakewood.
Central Jersey pop-rock quartet The Wag presents its Christmas Spectacular on Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Strand Theater in Lakewood.

Stalwart Central Jersey pop-rockers extraordinaire The Wag will headline their first theater show with a Christmas Spectacular happening at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the historic Strand Theater, 400 Clifton Ave. in Lakewood.

In the tradition of classic holiday specials, expect comedy sketches, dance numbers and plenty of great music, in addition to some special guests from the local music scene.

Tickets, $20 to $25, are available via strand.org.

A Hi-Tide Holiday at Langosta Lounge

Slowey and the Boats perform for A Hi-Tide Christmas on Friday, Dec. 10 at Langosta Lounge on the Asbury Park Boardwalk.
Slowey and the Boats perform for A Hi-Tide Christmas on Friday, Dec. 10 at Langosta Lounge on the Asbury Park Boardwalk.

Philadelphia Hawaiian-style jazz band Slowey and the Boats, part of the roster of Freehold-based Hi-Tide Recordings, is bringing a beachy spin on some seasonal classics to the Asbury Park Boardwalk this weekend.

The band headlines the Hi-Tide Holiday show at 7 p.m. Friday at Langosta Lounge, performing its chill delight of an album "Merry Christmas From Slowey and the Boats" in its entirety.

The evening will also feature an all-holiday music DJ set by DJ Hi-Tide and a Hi-Tide Recordings gift shop. Admission is free, but reservations are strongly encouraged.

The Langosta Lounge is at 1000 Ocean Ave. For more information, call 732-455-3275 or click here.

The Nutcracker Rocks at Axelrod PAC

From Saturday through Dec. 19, the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater returns to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center for its annual run of “The Nutcracker Rocks.”

This contemporary adaptation of the ballet was conceived by AXCBT Artistic Director Gabriel Chajnik. Based on Tchaikovsky’s beloved score. “The Nutcracker Rocks” includes a revamped rock score by The Gaslight Anthem's Alex Levine and Alex Rosamilia.

With an updated script by Reuben Jackson and Jason Cohen, “The Nutcracker Rocks” follows bored teen Clara, who must endure her family’s posh holiday party on the Upper East Side until her eccentric Uncle Dross (played by Broadway's and NBC’s Survivor’s Josh Canfield) shows up with his rock music, magical toys and a special gift.

He then transports Clara to a magic land, the Jersey Shore, where the traditional Land of Sweets is a candy shop in Asbury Park.

All audience members (12 and up) must provide proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed by a medical provider within 72 hours. Masks are required. Tickets, which can be purchased here, range from $48 to $56, with student discounts and group rates (for parties of 10 or more) available. The show is handicap accessible.

The Axelrod PAC is at 100 Grant Ave., Deal. For more information, call 732-531-9106 or visit axelrodartscenter.com.

Cookie Wars on Long Beach Island

'Tis the season for stuffing yourself silly with cookies!

On Saturday, the shops of Beach Haven's Bay Village and Schooner's Wharf will battle it out for the title of best cookie baker. More than a dozen stores are participating, including Spice It Up, Ship Bottom Brewery, Country Kettle Fudge and Coffee Bouteaque.

Regina Lotito, owner of Spice It Up, said participants must bake several hundred cookies for the friendly competition. No store-bought treats are allowed.

Tasting begins at 11 a.m., and voting takes place at Country Kettle Fudge. Bay Village and Schooner's Wharf are at North Bay Avenue and Ninth St. More info is at bayvillagelbi.com.

Disco Party 2021in Asbury Park

Sometimes it takes a village.

Or a member of the Village People. Felipe Rose, who was the Indian in the Village People, is the celebrity guest host of Disco Party 2021, a benefit for the Asbury Boardwalk Rescue at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park.

The night is also a birthday party for Wonder Bar manager Debbie DeLisa.

DJ Mick Hale will be spinning the disco hits, and the Diskotechs will play live. DeLisa and Rico Rivera are the hosts of the evening.

“This show is the epitome of Disco Fever,” DeLisa said.

Asbury Boardwalk Rescue spays, neuters, feeds and cares for the cats, who range from feral to abandoned domestics, who dwell on the oceanfront in Asbury Park.

Tickets are $25.

The Wonder Bar is at 1213 N. Ocean Ave. Attendees must have a proof of vaccination or a negative test. More information is at wonderbarasburypark.com.

Gabriela L. Laracca recently joined the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey and eagerly brings her passion for cuisine and culture to our readers. Send restaurant tips to glaracca@gannett.com.

Alex Biese, Sarah Griesemer and Chris Jordan contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Things to do in NJ: Winter Wonderland, 'The Nutcracker' and more

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