Borough Council hears pros and cons on beach festivals

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BRADLEY BEACH — Residents attending Tuesday night’s borough council meeting gave mixed reviews of the borough’s big summer events, the Memorial Day Weekend Festival and Lobsterfest. Crowds and beer were among less popular features of both events, several said. Resident Gail Osterman called the town a zoo on the weekends on which these festivals take place. “I have preschool grandchildren. It used to be fun to take them to the Memorial Day Parade. The Lobsterfest? You can’t even hang onto two kids and walk through, there’s no place to park your bike,” Ms. Osterman said. “These concerns are echoed by many of my neighbors.” Ms. Osterman asked the council to consider creative ways to avoid letting such events overwhelm the boardwalk. Bradley Beach Mayor Gary Engelstad replied that the big events have become a necessary business driver for the borough. “We’re in competition with Asbury Park; their badges $1.50 less than ours. We can’t sit back and say, ‘It’s a nice day, they will come.’ Stuff has to be taking place,” the mayor said. He added that the borough is “on the verge of having look at some structural changes to our beachfront to make sure that we’re competitive with our neighboring towns.” The events were also defended by resident Nancy Costa, who said that she moved to Bradley Beach four years ago because of all the festivals. “Our families come and kids come to the festivities,” she said. “We really enjoy it, and it’s one of the things we love about this town. It’s a shore town.” Resident Harvey Rosenberg also spoke in favor of the festival, noting that they raise money for the borough.

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Jennifer Ortiz is a Reporter at The Coast Star. She can be reached at jortiz@thecoaststar.com or at 732-223-0076, ext 23.