Friday Night Fire Pits and Music in Brant Beach

By Victoria Ford | Jul 29, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Long Beach Township — Friday nights have gotten a little bit cooler in Long Beach Township thanks to Commissioner Joseph Lattanzi and Recreation Director Joni Bakum. Kick off the weekend by sitting around propane fire pits on the 68th Street beach in Brant Beach, listening to live music and letting cares blow away on the breeze.

“What we’ve tried to create is a family-friendly atmosphere where families and friends can bring their coolers and come and relax and enjoy the music around our brand new fire pits every Friday night through Aug. 30,” Bakum said. “We have received tremendous support and terrific feedback from the community.” The weekly event is sponsored by Fireplaces Plus and Berkshire Hathaway.

This past Friday’s gathering brought Ned Ryerson to the stage and hundreds of fun-loving folks to stake out their spot in the sand or play in the surf as the sun went down.

“It was awesome to see so many people there enjoying the music on such a gorgeous night,” Ryerson said. “I pulled up and was like ‘Whoa, this is awesome!’ Couldn’t beat the atmosphere on Friday with the ocean, the weather and all the great people. I’m glad I could be a part of it.”

Ned Ryerson is his stage name, admitted the 37-year-old Toms River resident and high school teacher. He has been playing music professionally for about 16 years, but started on drums at age 5 and played all through high school. In college he picked up the guitar. He works solo and with his band, the Groundhogs, performing all over a five-state region.

“I’m very interactive and like to have fun when I’m playing,” he said. “I always believe if I’m having fun, it radiates and is contagious to the audience.”

As she plans the summer programming, Bakum’s goal is to provide a variety of free public events for all ages. She has expanded the programs for adults 18 and older as well as programs with the Long Beach Island branch of the Ocean County Library, “to continue the overall goal of LBI being an exciting and fun destination with affordable activities for all ages,” she said. Local businesses and the artists make programming possible by donating their time and financial support, she added.  —V.F.

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