By Matthew Sockol
FREEHOLD – Public events in Freehold Borough will continue during the summer of 2016, according to a representative of the Freehold Center Management Corporation.
The Freehold Center Management Corporation was previously known as the Freehold Center Partnership and currently does business as Downtown Freehold. For years, the organization has produced events in the borough’s downtown district.
The Freehold Idol talent contest and a summer concert series, which are annual events produced by Downtown Freehold, are scheduled to take place this year, according to a press release from the organization.
According to Downtown Freehold, the Freehold Idol talent competition will begin on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. in front of the Monmouth County Hall of Records, Main Street, and continue every Wednesday throughout the summer.
The summer concert series will begin on June 9 at 7:30 p.m. in front of the Hall of Records and continue every Thursday until it concludes on Aug. 25. The bands scheduled to perform are Mission Dance, Jersey Four, Time Machine, The Nerds, NRG, Phil Engel Band, Brian Kirk & the Jirks, EagleMania, LifeSpeed, British Invasion, Jimmy & the Parrots and Daddy Pop.
Mission Dance, which will open the summer series on June 9, plays current pop and classic dance music. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Mission Dance has won the WeddingWire Couples Choice Awards from 2014-16 in recognition of their performances at weddings.
An Independence Day celebration will begin at 6:30 p.m. July 3 at Freehold Raceway (rain date July 10) and will include a concert and a fireworks display. The Independence Day event will be presented by Freehold Borough.
There have been changes in Downtown Freehold’s organization in recent weeks following the adoption of an ordinance by the Borough Council that put certain administrative changes into effect for the organization.
In response to the ordinance’s adoption, Downtown Freehold Chief Executive Officer Richard Gatto and Marketing and Events Coordinator Christina Sapikowski resigned from their jobs. Larry Metz and Bill Mehr resigned from their positions on the Downtown Freehold Board of Directors.
Dru-Anne Palaima has been named events coordinator, according to Mike Page, the interim chairman of the Board of Directors. Page said a new chief executive officer had not been named as of June 1
In a press release, Downtown Freehold said, “Visitors, residents and businesses can be assured that the same quality events and production can be expected this summer by all. We encourage everyone to visit Downtown Freehold for the shops, the restaurants and cafes, and just the charm of a true downtown. As far as we are concerned, we, the volunteers of Downtown Freehold, have worked too hard to produce a wonderful series of events and a beautiful streetscape here in Downtown Freehold to allow an ordinance or resignations to stop thousands of visitors from enjoying our wonderful downtown.”