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'Live Creatively' at First Night

When First Night takes over downtown Saratoga Springs every New Year's Eve, there's always plenty of music and festivity to ring in the new year. But this year, with Saratoga Arts sponsoring the event for the first time, revelers can be part of the fun in another way.

Saratoga Arts is all about making the arts accessible to everybody, [so] both as audience members and participants, everyone can be involved in creating art, said Joel Reed, executive director of Saratoga Arts.

This year's First Night theme, "Live Creatively," links the event to the organization's mission by allowing event goers to create art of their own in a variety of ways.

Ghost Train is a digital electronic media that creates a projection of a New York City subway train, upon which people can paint using LED lights on the surface. Band of Bicycles is a group from Brooklyn that turns bicycles into art, so people can get on the bicycle, create some spin art and leave with the art that they make.

"Our intention is to make sure there's plenty of great art that people can be audience members for and plenty that they can participate in making," said Reed.

There are about 70 different acts performing between 6 p.m. and midnight, from musical performances to magic acts, comedy shows, art exhibits, independent films, ballet, a capella and karaoke.

"Whatever people's tastes are they're going to find something they like for sure," said Reed.

Musical acts include Vesper, a cello-driven rock group, The Spirit of Johnny Cash, The Singing Anchors, a cabaret group featuring local news anchors, Funk Evolution and more that will present folk, holiday tunes, rhythm and blues, jazz, rock 'n roll, country, classical, opera and pop.

Events returning from previous years are the annual First Night 5K Run that steps off at 5:30 p.m., the Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra and the Ellen Sinopoli Dance company and carousel rides. Shops and restaurants will be open late and the annual fireworks show welcomes the new year at midnight.

For a complete list of events and locations or to purchase a First Night button, visit www.saratoga.com or Saratoga Arts online at saratogaarts.org.

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