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First Night Saratoga 2017: A Night Of Magic

First Night Saratoga marks the New Year.
Lucas Willard

The New Year’s Eve tradition that packs downtown Saratoga Springs with performers, musicians, throngs of revelers, and fireworks, is just about a month away.

Organized by Saratoga Arts, this year’s programming lineup and theme were announced Tuesday.

The theme for the 2017 celebration is “A Night of Magic.” Saratoga Arts Executive Director Joel Reed says the theme was chosen in part due to the long lines surrounding popular magicians and other acts last year.

“We booked more people with those skills and talents and who work in that area, and we’re putting them in larger venues and rearranged the nature of how they offer their programs so more people can enjoy them,” said Reed.

Of course, there’s also the dozens of other acts. In all, more than 70 acts in 35 venues throughout the city will be putting on around 250 shows between 6 and midnight.

The evening begins with the traditional 5k Race, which begins at Skidmore College at 5:30, and end with the fireworks in Congress Park at midnight.

In order to accommodate the thousands of visitors, First Night Coordinator Alix Jones says Saratoga Arts has again partnered with CDTA to provide shuttle services to criss-cross the city, though everything is intended to be within walking distance.

“CDTA runs routes in both directions around our venues. They’re also doing a shuttle from the Wilton Mall, so that people don’t have to park downtown, they can park at the Wilton Mall and catch a bus downtown. And at Skidmore College this year. So for our 5k racers, they can run the race, get a shower, catch the bus into town, and leave their car in place. Or if people are coming in late to the event, they can go to Skidmore, park their car, and time it with the bus route,” said Jones.

All activities are family friendly and offer an alternative form of entertainment on a night often associated with heavy drinking.

Driving home the message of safety and responsibility, the celebration is being sponsored in part by the Deanna Marie Rivers foundation, named after aShenendehowa High School senior killed in a collision with a drunk driver in December 2012.

Rivers’ parents, Brian and Deborah, said they were proud to support a safe, alcohol-free celebration.

“If everyone made the right choice we would still have our daughter along with many others who would still have their loved ones, who share the same story. Please our New Year’s Eve celebration with loved ones and be safe. We hope our message hits home with you. Our home will never be the same. A tragedy such as ours can be prevented,” said Brian.

Buttons for First Night Saratoga are now on sale. A $5 discount for the $20 button will be available until December 25th.

For more information on admission and how to volunteer, visit: http://www.saratoga-arts.org/firstnight

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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