First Night needs funding

Money for fireworks cut from county budget

— First Night Coordinator Jackie Marchand said taking over hosting duties last year seemed like a natural fit.

“It’s taking what we do on a regular basis and presenting it on a larger scale,” she said.

Nearly 14,000 “revelers” attend the event each year. Throughout the night, 85 acts starring hundreds or performers can be seen at 35 locations across the City of Saratoga. It is considered the largest New Year’s Eve event between New York City and Montreal.

The performances are the main attraction.

To find the acts, there is a two-month submission process earlier in the year. Marchand also scouts at local concerts, events, and festivals to seek-out new talent.

“There is a huge variety of talent in the region and we are happy to be able to bring it to the public,” she said, adding how each year is a mix of both new and old performances.

New this year is the Celtic music, comedy, and dance troupe, “The Tatran Terrors.” Marchand said she first noticed their popularity on Youtube and thought they would be a great addition to the event. She said they’re “funny and rowdy, and put on a good show,” explaining the will be a big draw from the many people of Irish and Scottish decent in the region.

“Plus, they wear kilts. Who doesn’t like that?” she said.

Also new is the “Hands-off Arcade,” which will be set-up in the City Center. Invented by professors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, it is described as “a retro-techno interactive experience, updating the concept of a classical video game arcade to show case the amazing new gaming equipment being developed today.” Marchand said she feels both children and adults will like the “Hands-off Arcade” because it’s more participatory and high-tech than other First Night exhibitions.

The evening also features a 5-Kilometer race at Skidmore College and submissions are still being taken for Saratoga Bb, a collaborative music and spoken word project by Darren Solomon, developed by contributions from users.

Read said First Night encourages families to spend the holiday together “in a wholesome, safe, and exciting atmosphere that emphasizes community-wide creative engagement and the importance of arts within the region,”

Admission buttons can be purchased for $15 at various locations across the Capital District and online. Anyone with a button will have free access to CDTA buses running throughout the city to ensure safe travel home.

For more information visit www.saratoga-arts.org/firstnight.

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