First Night Saratoga is celebrating its 23rd anniversary this year! As one of the oldest and largest celebrations of its kind in the country, Saratoga Arts is proud to present this affordable, accessible, safe and exciting New Year's Eve tradition.
On Monday, December 31st join over 15,000 revelers in downtown Saratoga Springs to enjoy your pick of over seventy regional acts performing in thirty different venues. The theme for First Night Saratoga 2019 is “Let’s Celebrate!”, and events are planned that should appeal to everyone’s eclectic tastes be it comedy and contra-dancing or magic and music. Beginning with the 5k road race at Skidmore College at 5:30pm and culminating with the fireworks in Congress Park at midnight, First Night Saratoga is sure to be a highlight of your outgoing year.
There are some highlights below, but you should review the schedule with friends and family and choose your own exciting New Year’s Eve adventure!
Join WEXT at the mainstage in the City Center with regional, rising star Sydney Worthley who will get you dancing at the top of the night with her soulful voice and upbeat original numbers. Sydney will be followed by Professor Louie & the Crowmatix who take the stage with the Woodstock Horns to present the lost tracks of The Band. And back by popular demand, Sawyer Fredericks will close out the last two hours of 2018 with his own brand of American roots straight from his new album. Sawyer Fredericks will also lead a countdown into the New Year, as will all closing artists in the City Center (Georgie Wonder’s Orchestra, Sirsy, Bovine Social Club) and the Courtyard Marriott (The Lied To’s, Mike Campese). This provides a great alternative to fireworks for those who would rather stay in place and warmly ring in 2019 with their favorite artists.
For the youngest revelers, the Children’s Museum at Saratoga will open their doors at 4pm and invite families in to discover how different countries around the world put their own spin on New Year’s traditions. This will be followed by a parade to the Lake Avenue School where kids can eat cotton candy, get their faces painted and enjoy a one-man circus extravaganza featuring Troy Wunderle- the Artistic director of Circus Smirkus’s Big Top tour. Just down the hall, the award-winning theater troupe, Arm-of-the-Sea, will weave an epic story with beautiful puppets ranging from 12 inches to 12 feet tall! A lot is going on at Lake Ave School, including a must-see Tribute event with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash sharing the auditorium stage. For other great hits from the same era, don’t miss Big Fez & the Surfmatics and Flame, performing at the NBT Bank.
If you are in need of some good humor this New Year’s Eve, make sure to check out the Empire State College Rotunda where Comedy Works will present an array of the best regional stand-ups. Meanwhile, the Saratoga Arts stage will feature a hilarious original cabaret by FAB the Duo up from NYC for this event. FAB shares the spotlight with Will Shakespeare who casts and directs classic adventures full of merriment, sword fights, mistaken identities, star crossed lovers, shipwrecks, musical numbers... and bear chases all in under 40 minutes! And, of course, perennial favorite, Michael Ray, will entrance audiences at the Salvation Army with his unbelievable hypnotic powers. This New Years it is time to get moving! Hop in for some country line- dancing in the St. Peter’s Parish Center, and later the Saratoga Chamber Players and Tango Fusion will join forces to provide dance instruction for all levels with a flare. In the City Center, the Grafton Street Trio will play traditional uilleann pipe tunes to the high kicks of the Mise Eire Irish Dancers and the Georgie Wonders Orchestra will close out the evening with old-time romantic big band hits worth every dip and twirl.
A full range of musical genres is represented! If you are in the mood for Jazz, make sure to stop by the Hampton Inn (Roben Kosek Jazz & Blues, Déjà vu Jazz) or St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (Hetko Siegel Syracuse, The New Edge, Michael Benedict). If you want roots music, you will find what you seek in the Saratoga Springs Post Office (Mark Tolstrup, Jimy Graham). Temple Sinai is the go-to venue for the hottest new alternative groups in the Local 518 (Ryan Leddick Trio, Sydney Schizzano, The Onlys),the acoustically fabulous Military Museum will hold our a cappella groups (The Racing City and Saratoga Soundtrack Choruses). Finally, don’t miss the world-renowned Indian Classical musician, MaestroUstad Shafaat Khan, who will play one set of traditional music and one set of modern fusion in the City Center.
There is truly something for everyone. Remember, New Year's Eve happens no matter what and so does First Night Saratoga! All of our performers will be inside their respective locations and our transportation partner, CDTA, is providing free shuttle and bus trips to all of our venues as well as service from the Wilton Mall and Skidmore College.
Buttons officially go on sale at area Price Choppers, Stewarts Shops, Adirondack Trusts and participating hotels on December 1. Buttons are $20. At Saratoga Arts and online you can purchase buttons now for $15 and that onsite discount will remain in play until December 25. Also, if you run the 5K race you are eligible for a discount on buttons. Kids 12 and under are free.