For the 22nd year, the annual New Year’s Eve celebration First Night is returning to Saratoga Springs. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has a preview.
First Night Saratoga packs the Spa City with more than 15,000 revelers, and organizers are planning an event that includes more than 70 performing groups, the popular 5K race, and fireworks at midnight.
Saratoga Arts is once again in charge. First Night coordinator Alix Jones said the event is one of the oldest and largest New Year’s Eve celebrations between New York City and Montreal.
“It’s a mainstay of the winter cultural scene in Saratoga Springs and it’s a really wonderful way for Saratoga Arts to further our mission of promoting the arts and making them accessible for everyone in our community,” said Jones.
First Night and its family friendly activities draw visitors from 16 states, says Saratoga Arts Executive Director Joel Reed.
“The First Night 5K has an even wider range, where people who have registered for the 5K coming from 29 different states. So this is really a national event, it’s an international event.”
Reed said revelers have visited from Toronto and Montreal.
The 5K race that kicks off at Skidmore College is now in its 20th year. Registration is now open to 1,500 runners and volunteer Jeff Allen says it will fill up.
“The race is early, it’s 5:30 at night and the reason for this is so people can run the race and also go to First Night.”
As for wintry weather?
“Snow? We don’t worry about it,” said Allen.
You won’t need a car to visit each of the 30 venues. CDTA is again providing complimentary shuttle service up and down Broadway and to parking areas at Skidmore College and the Wilton Mall, says Reed.
“It runs multiple shuttles all throughout the evening and everyone with a First Night button gets in free and that can take you from venue to venue.”
The First Night button, which displays the Light Up The Night 2018 theme, is your ticket to each stop. At $20 apiece, they are available at several Price Chopper supermarkets, Stewart’s Shops, Adirondack Trust banks, at Saratoga Arts on Broadway in Saratoga Springs, online, and at several other local businesses. One child under 12 will be granted free admission with every adult button purchase.
If purchased before December 25th at Saratoga Arts or online, the buttons are discounted to $15.
All acts are indoors and First Night is alcohol-free. As a preview, performer Sydney Worthley and her band played a few songs at the First Night announcement.