The official opening of the Carteret Performing Arts and Events Center will be this Saturday, Dec. 4 when New Jersey Hall of Fame members The Smithereens perform in Carteret, NJ. It's also billed as the band's homecoming.

Joining the band will be special guest vocalists Robin Wilson (of the Gin Blossoms) and Marshall Crenshaw. This marks the first time both will be splitting vocal duties with the band for an entire show. Gov. Phil Murphy will be cutting the ribbon earlier in the day, officially kicking off the festivities.

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I was lucky enough to host the very first comedy show there last Saturday night when Suzy Yengo, President and CEO of Catch a Rising Star, brought the very first comedy special to a packed house headlined by Jersey Bad Boy," Mike Marino.

Yengo told me,  "We love the venue and are in discussions of bringing more talent there."

The Carteret Performing Arts and Event Center is situated on the site of the former Ritz Theatre. The venue itself is a multi-level, flexible space that boasts a main floor concert/comedy/entertainment space with theatre seating, a lower level comedy/jazz club with a piano lounge, and a rooftop lounge.

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How did the Carteret Performing Arts and Event Center come to be? Borough of Carteret  Mayor Daniel J. Reiman tells me through email:

"Over the years, there has always been a shared vision to create a vibrant downtown and an inclusive Arts District that would serve as a destination for the performing arts, educational events, live entertainment, and community engagement. The strategy was to design and build a one-of-a-kind venue that could transform itself from a seated concert hall to an indoor sports arena, to a center for culinary arts festivals, and so much more."

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It wasn't easy, says Mayor Reiman:

"The process to get here was not without challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, but we never lost sight of the finish line. Today, I can proudly say that the Carteret Performing Arts & Events Center is now complete and will open its doors to welcome the public in 2021."

"This will be a defining moment for the Borough of Carteret as we take our place among New Jersey’s sought-after downtowns; bustling with local businesses and visitors, creating jobs, and boosting our local economy. Arts Districts have proven themselves to be the catalyst that attracts visitors and businesses, and ours will be no exception with the Carteret PAC as the cornerstone."

Mayor Reiman on how the Carteret Performing Arts and Events Center will sustain itself said:

"The Carteret PAC will sustain itself in part through mindful and consistent programming, membership campaigns, grant funding, and most importantly through our Naming and Corporate Partnership Opportunities. These opportunities provide corporations as well as individuals the chance to become a part of a cultural renaissance that until now, was an economic void within eastern Middlesex County and this region of New Jersey."

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"The Carteret PAC is a multi-level, flexible space venue that boasts a lower-level comedy/jazz club with piano lounge; a main floor concert/comedy and entertainment space with luxury theatre-style seating that is easily removed to accommodate a variety of events such as expos, weddings, dinner, and more. The upper-level VIP seating consists of VIP Box Suites, a private VIP space, and a 2nd-floor expansive lobby with a baby grand piano. The rooftop lounge, decorated with high-end furnishings, fire pits, heaters, and bars, has its own stage and private cabana-style seating for dining and enjoying the sunset."

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"My hope is that we may add your name to the growing list of Partners who join us on our journey toward becoming central New Jersey’s premiere destination to visit, work, live, and thrive."

Vaccine Policy follows the guidelines of the state.

As for parking and places to eat, Mayor Reiman says;

"There's ample street parking, a parking lot is being built across the street.
several local restaurants and we will have our own at the PAC soon."

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7-11 p.m.. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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