SARATOGA SPRINGS — For more than 20 years, thousands have flocked to the Spa City on New Year’s Eve for First Night Saratoga.
This year’s event boasts more than 70 regional and touring performing groups in 30 venues across the city.
New additions include activities at the Children’s Museum at Saratoga and a performance by Sawyer Fredericks, the 2015 winner of the television show “The Voice.”
First Night Director Alix Jones said this year’s theme, “Light Up the Night,” seeks to inspire attendees.
“The idea is that you can light up the night as an individual,” she said. “We want people to see themselves as artists, so our goal is to invite the community to participate, as well as to observe.”
The purchase of a button gives attendees access to the First Night venues and performances throughout the evening, as well as free CDTA bus service downtown.
Volunteers stuffed 10,000 buttons in a record 45 minutes during an event Tuesday in the Saratoga Arts Center on Broadway.
Jones said those who purchase buttons will get a program booklet, which they should use to plan their evening.
“Smaller venues tend to fill up quickly, so it’s important that people have a Plan B,” she said. “Be ready and be flexible.”
For those who want to get an early start on New Year’s Eve celebrations, the First Night Saratoga 5K Run will begin at 5:30 p.m. When the race was first run, 20 years ago, just over 200 people participated.
Jones said that last year the 5K Run garnered more than 1,200 participants.
“There’s going to be a good turnout this year,” she said. “The runners are able to experience the night like no one else.”
In order to fully enjoy First Night Saratoga, Jones said attendees should dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes.
“The event brings tourism to the region, but also makes the community tighter-knit,” she said.
Buttons can be purchased starting Dec. 1 for $15. The price goes to $20 after Dec. 25. They can be purchased on the Saratoga Arts website or at the Arts Center, at 320 Broadway.
For more information, visit saratoga-arts.org/firstnight.