For the 32nd time, more than 100 balloons add their colors to the sky during the festival grounds during the weekend-long QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning. The balloons take flight during five mass ascensions at dawn and dusk. But that isn't the weekend's only entertainment. There's also vendors and arts-and-crafts, thrill acts, and family entertainment galore. Outdoor stages also host hard-rocking performances by America, 3 Doors Down, and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, as well as pop rock band Hot Chelle Rae.
For more than 40 years, Party Box's artillery of costumes, decorations, and party supplies has kept celebrants armed for good-natured squeals and screams. Ready yourself for monster mashes and whimsical bank robberies with a Supergirl ($29.99) or Batman ($29.99) costume, or trick-or-treat without fear of self-definition as a zombie rock star ($32.99). Party Box's costume selection boasts sizes from infant to XXL, enabling entire families to get in on the fun. In addition to costumes, Party Box also stocks paper and plastic ware, and decorations for a variety of themes and holidays.
Inside the kitchen at Riverside Manor is a staff that knows how to bring the best out of their Atlantic-harvested ingredients and Italian cooking methods. Fresh, homemade pastas envelop pumpkin ravioli and serve as pillows for shrimp and scallops. Filet mignon tops bruschetta or stars in an entr?e of its own. And eight brick-oven pizzas come strewn with four cheeses, spinach and feta, or crispy buffalo chicken. And to accommodate as many patrons as possible, the cooks prepare a whole-wheat penne primavera along with an entire menu of gluten-free dishes.
But perhaps it?s the building itself that best represents an elegant fusing of old and new. On the site of what was once a 19th-century silk mill, the doors now open into a scene that could fool you into thinking you just passed through a wormhole to Tuscany. Along with hand-carved wooden furnishings and ornamental ironwork, brick archways and painted trompe l?oeils bring a playfulness to the space, which doubles as a frequent host for weddings and other special events.
The Carlino family serves authentic, home-style Italian fare as well as gluten-free versions of Italian favorites to satisfy pasta-craving customers. Diners commence with a small plate of stuffed artichoke or white anchovies with green olives and capers. Postantipasti, forks delve into plates of pasta with broccoli and baby shrimp or backflip into a ball pit of tender veal meatballs with house-made tomato sauce. Hearty entrees furnish equal parts meat and Old-World nostalgia, with seafood risotto and chicken cacciatore served with mushrooms, pancetta, and herbs splashed with a white-wine sauce to conjure memories of Nona's kitchen. A gluten-free menu accommodates the wheat-weary by carefully editing Italian staples, swapping regular pasta for gluten-free penne, topping eggplant parmigiana with gluten-free breadcrumbs, and outfitting the restaurant's resident angels with synthetic wigs instead of their traditional edible strands.
Owners Howard Abraham and Teddy Glytsea are no strangers to inflatable fun. Not only does the duo also own Inflatable Party Adventures, but one or both can be found at Screamin? Parties at any time, ensuring each attraction's optimum springiness and impeccable cleanliness.As sock-covered feet trample about inside several bounce houses, young ones cut a rug on an interactive game floor and relive Jacques Cousteau?s worst day ever by gliding through a 20-foot inflatable shark slide. Screamin' Parties' newest attraction, the Screamin' Party Machine, is a state-of-the-art simulator that recreates the thrilling turns and drops of real roller coasters. An obstacle course beckons excitable tots to zoom through its cushiony labyrinth, and oversized piano keys stretch across the floor to invite rousing performances by stomping feet. Trained staffers keep a close eye on every colorful attraction, offering careful attention for those with special needs, and spend the end of each day wiping down and sanitizing every surface.
Members of the Resnick clan have managed the family business for a century, growing the original hardware store into a garden center and party-rental warehouse. Always emphasizing customer service, three generations of Resnicks have built up a loyal clientele, learning the names and spirit animals of shop regulars. The rental side of the company provides clients with memorable props such as popcorn machines, frozen drink makers, a tiki bar, kids games, and mic-equipped podiums amplify wedding toasts and stump speeches for the office of city comptroller. For weddings and formal events, Resnick's can deliver upscale décor and furnishings, including romantic archways, white linens, and fountains for champagne or punch.