First Night Saratoga expanding

Buses will be on hand for this year's First Night Saratoga to take what is expected to be the festival's largest crowd to expanded venues.

First Night Saratoga, the region's largest New Year's Eve celebration, has expanded outside of the city center this year, and to help festivalgoers get going, First Night coordinators have partnered with CDTA for the first night.

Buses will run every 15 minutes on seven routes around the city and to new venues that include the YMCA of Saratoga, Saratoga Springs High School, and the National Museum of Dance.

As in previous years, performers will still be located up and down Broadway, down Lake Avenue, and along many side streets.

All bus service will be free from 5 p.m. to when it's scheduled to end at 1 a.m., said CDTA Executive Director of Business Development, Carm Basile.

And I'll tell you, if there are people who need buses after 1 a.m., we'll stay, he added.

Event Coordinator Maureen Duda said the partnership with CDTA is a perfect accommodation for First Night revelers.

"Park at the YMCA, park at the high school, hop on a bus, and it'll take you anywhere you want to go," she said.

This year, more than 400 artists will perform at 35 venues. Musical artists represent an array of styles, including pop, orchestral, country and opera. The Celtic rock-band Seven Nations will be headlining what Duda calls an "Irish extravaganza" in the Saratoga Springs City Center.

"We have the stage not quite high enough to see if it's true what they say about men in kilts," she said.

"This year's theme is 'Paint the Town,'" said Duda.

"We want you to paint the town with your dreams and your wishes," she said. In front of the City Center will be wall-sized board on which patrons can write their dreams and wishes for 2008.

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