My Epic Weekend In Pictures: Vernon Lights Fest and Quick Family Time

Despite battling a flu bug illness of some sort the past 7 days, this Epic Weekend In Pictures will still be as action packed as possible. I was able to celebrate my birthday week with so many of my wonderful family and friends. Not to be all Jimmy Stewart "It's A Wonderful Life," but it is always a week that definitely reminds me of many blessings I have in my world. To think I moved here in Jersey 6 years ago not knowing a single person, missing all of my family and friends back home in Boston, to now also having an Awesome team of friends in Jersey too. This Epic Weekend In Pictures will be slightly briefer because apparently my computer is still on Thanksgiving weekend mode, restarting and doing fun updates on me all morning long. Happy Monday!

We'll start the Weekend off Wednesday night, Thanksgiving Eve. Over the past few years, we have built a little tradition of celebrating my birthday with our wonderful friends Thanksgiving Eve. Since my birthday is always the week of Thanksgiving and falls on it once every 6 years, we figure it's close enough to the actual day. I still can't believe we had upwards of 20 of our close friends arrive on one of the busiest, least convenient nights all year. We are so beyond blessed. Great night with so many of our besties.

Every Thanksgiving morning by 6am, I'm on the road to visit my family in Mansfield, Ma. The first year or two during my Jersey tenure, I attempted to commute Thanksgiving Eve. It usually took me closer to 6 hours instead of 4. One year, we had a snowstorm on Thanksgiving Eve therefore forcing me to attempt a Thursday morning trek. My commute was 4 hours drama free, and now that has been my system the past few years. Thanksgiving back at The Allan Tavern is so fun and relaxing. We eat tons of yummy food, drink delicious drinks, enjoy football, and overall quality family time. It's my favorite day all year.

This year I had so much fun with my family. We're very close, and the second you meet them you see why. They are all absolute rock stars, each and every one of them. They are so loving, caring and supportive of me and my career. The last time I was able to see them was August, but we pick up as if time has never been an issue. We all have fun laughing with and sometimes at each other. I can't wait until a future Thanksgiving when I can bring Awesome Girlfriend Megan up with me. Meg went to Pa to visit her Awesome Mommy Rita, and Rita is one of those people who always makes you smile. I was psyched they were able to enjoy the holiday together.

Friday I was unfortunately under the weather in bed a big chunk of the day. I was able to roll out in time for my Padre, Madre and Suzanne to take me out to Longhorn Steakhouse for my birthday. I went with Flo's Filet Mignon medium rare and it was fantastic. Though I'm a snob now that I use their seasoning on all of my burgers and steaks with my Awesome Electric Grill, lunch with my family was just what the doctor ordered. My filet came out perfect. Everyone had great meals. I don't care if it's a chain, if my steak comes out terrific, that's all I care about, large or small.

Friday afternoon my family then took me to Bog Iron Brewery, in Norton, Massachusetts. This is the local brewery my Dad and sister go to every Friday night. They have great selection, and my Dad is like a Mayor there, LOL. We had two yummy IPA's, and were happy and full after that.

Friday night it was just a chill night at home just the four of us, which was perfect. Normally every year my parents host a Black Friday night party at our Allan Tavern, but this year logistics didn't quite work out for everyone. That ended up being a blessing, me being sick as a dog and needing to wake up early for work, I wouldn't have been the life of the party anyway.

Saturday morning I was on the road by 5:20am. I had a live broadcast at Audi Of Newton on Route 206 from 11am to 1pm. Traffic from Boston to Newton was nonexistent thank goodness. I was able to enjoy a quality hearty breakfast at Hampton Diner right before I went on the air. Success. While we have so much fun there every month, I was very subpar. Wally Darwish was so sweet after we were done. He came over and so sincerely wished me well and that I'll feel better soon. He even admitted "Steve Allan is calm and low energy, I'm not used to this!" I told him I was like a Lion with an injured paw, nothing permanent, I'll be back!

Saturday afternoon I went back to my place, showered up, laid down for an hour to rest, then right back to work. This was going to be Epic: The Vernon Lights Festival. Talk about an amazing adventure. Awesome Girlfriend Megan surprised me and spent the entire show with me, which was amazing. Getting to hang with Meg, Kim Eid, and Maggie from our Street Team was terrific. The lights are so gorgeous, all one million plus of them. To think they had over 100 people working on this from August through now. I'm so thrilled to report that approximately 1,000 people showed up Friday night opening night. Talk about a huge win for Vernon Lights Festival, Vernon, Sussex County and the tons of smiling families I saw Saturday night. One Dad told his son, who looked younger than 5, that he was fulfilling his promise of showing him dinosaurs. I swear that boy jumped ten feet in the air so excited. Seeing kids excited this year definitely helps get you in the spirit, that's for sure. You can see my video tour at the bottom of this page.

Saturday night after the Vernon Lights Festival we did a victory beer to warm up our toes at The Lamp Post in Vernon. Our friends Bill, Alex, and Brit Eid along with Shain came along to surprise us. We greatly enjoyed our beer together, while also talking about our family Christmas Traditions.

Sunday was far from Epic for me. I used Sunday to be my rest and fluids day. I went grocery shopping at Shop Rite Of Sparta, then bought some beer at Shop Rite Liquor. I explained to the clerks I felt embarrassed because of my timing. Since I was out of town all weekend then working, I was out of groceries and provisions and needed them. Unfortunately due to my bad timing, I probably looked like the throngs of people we see every snowstorm on TV panicking buying bread and milk. Fortunately the crowds weren't too bad.

I kept resting, and then watched my Patriots lose to the Houston Texans Sunday night. Sunday night football hurts you, even more when you lose on a late night that's way past your preferred to bed time. Some fellow Patriots fans think that our ride is over. I'm not going that far, but it is tough to foresee us getting past Baltimore this year.

Overall, this weekend was amazing despite this flu bug that's going around and got the best of me the past week or so. Even several Patriots got this bug, to the point where they flew two airplanes to Houston for the game, one with those who were battling this illness and one with those who weren't. Yuck. I'll keep washing my hands, and attempt this rest and fluids business whenever possible.

Overall, amazing weekend. I hope you and your family had a great weekend too. Time to start planning next weekend - Madre's birthday! This better be epic!