By DON STINE
NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP – Just 12 hours after the close of the Neptune Mayor’s Ball which raised $50,000 for Mary’s Place in Ocean Grove, River Concert 2013 kicked off in the Shark River Hills section of the township which also raised $50,000. That money will go to support township residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.
More than 1,300 people turned out for the concert held along the Shark River. The concert featured local resident Nicole Atkins, Steve Forbert and others for a daylong concert which began at noon and continued until 7 p.m.
Warren Lapp, treasurer of the Shark River Hills Property Owners Association, said the event was a big success.
“It seemed to work out well and people enjoyed themselves. There was a continuous flow of people all day,” he said.
Vito Gadaleta, who was on a special committee to put on the concert, said it was “an overwhelming success.” He said that many people and organizations were responsible for putting on the concert and he described himself as just one cog in a great wheel.
The concert was the first such event held in Shark River Hills. Promoters had expected to sell about 1,000 tickets but Gadaleta said more than 1,300 purchased tickets.
“The concert committee decided that since the venue was large enough, we would continue to sell tickets on the day of the event,” Gadaleta said.
More than 76 individuals and corporate sponsors supported the concert.
“It was a neighborhood block party that will not soon be forgotten,” Gadaleta said. “In fact, talk has already begun about River Concert 2014.”
The event was cosponsored by the Recovery Along the River Foundation; the local Shark River Hills fire and First Aid Squad, along with its ladies auxiliary; the property owners association; and number of unaffiliated community volunteers. Money will be distributed equally among Shark River Hills residents having property damage from Sandy.
“All of us were overwhelmed by the response. It was a true community event and it was a day when entire community come together and enjoy the camaraderie of friends and neighbors,” Gadaleta said.
Besides Atkins and Forbert, performers include the Shark River Hillbillies, Lone Ramblers, Glycerin Queens and Lemon Juice. Performers donated their time.
The Shark River Hills section was hit hard during Superstorm Sandy and many residents are still not back in their homes seven months later.
The Neptune Township Marina building was destroyed in the storm along with five houses destroyed and 90 suffering severe damage. Several boats from the river ended up on lawns blocks away and most residents were without power for 11 days.