Saratoga gears up for premiere New Year event

For a complete schedule of events and information, visit the Web site at www.ymcasaratoga.org, or call 584-8262.

SIDEBAR: First Night Saratoga goes dreamy

"A Midwinter Night's Dream" is the theme for this year's First Night Saratoga.

As thousands of eager revelers descend upon the Spa City Dec. 31, they will be participating in what has, in the last 11 years, developed into not only the biggest citywide festival in Saratoga Springs, but the largest New Year's Eve celebration in upstate New York.

Some Broadway shop windows will be a part of more than 40 performance venues throughout downtown, Lake Avenue, and Beekman Street, offering everything from rock to Rachmaninov, blues to bluegrass, dance, drama, comedy, and plenty for the kids as well.

Performance sites include most of the major venues in the city, and show off the splendid architecture of various churches, banks, and public buildings.

First Night Saratoga, presented each year by the YMCA of Saratoga, and underwritten by signature sponsor GE and many other corporate supporters, has expanded over the years to include nearby areas such as the Beekman Street Arts District, and the National Museum of Dance on South Broadway.

This year the event will proudly assist in showcasing the newest jewel in the city's crown " the newly restored Universal Preservation Hall on Washington Street.

First Night, a family-oriented, alcohol-free celebration of the arts and the community, also features a continuously sold-out 5k run at 5:30 p.m. at Skidmore College, when 1,000 runners "race into the new year" with the largest First Night run in the state.

Simultaneously, the opening ceremonies for First Night will commence at 5:30 p.m. outside the Saratoga City Center, where a number of local dignitaries will take to the stage and launch the event, followed by the first of two gala fireworks displays during the evening.

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