Indeed, First Night Saratoga 2012 will have its offerings centered on the theme of "Art Unleashed," in which over 400 performers from a full-range of artistic disciplines will be presented at 35 venues spread throughout Saratoga Springs. This will be the 16th annual First Night celebration in the city, which has grown into a festive occasion, annually embraced by upwards of 14,000 residents and visitors. It will also be the second presentation by Saratoga Arts.
Kathleen Lucey, president of Saratoga Arts' board of directors, asserted that this year's theme was most appropriate for Saratoga Arts in its role as presenter of the event. "Every day, Saratoga Arts is engaged in encouraging creativity," she said.
Jackie Marchand, who is returning as First Night coordinator, highlighted some of the prominent artists and unique exhibits for this year's celebration, which include:
- Headliners at the Saratoga City Center will be the Tartan Terrors, an international Celtic touring group which combine elements of music, comedy and dance in their program. They will share the Saratoga City Center stage with local favorites Funk Evolution, a high-energy group whose trademark is danceable grooves "perfect for those who want to 'dance-in' the New Year," Ms. Marchand said.
- The City Center will also be the site of the "Hands Off Arcade," a high-tech fun zone created in conjunction with gaming experts from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute. The arcade is designed to be a retro-techno experience which updates classic video games with modern technology. Also housed in the arcade are the local video submissions for "Saratoga in B (flat)," a collaborative music and spoken word project that will allow attendees to "play" the videos throughout the evening.
- Returning regional favorites including Hair of the Dog and Racing City Chorus will be at the First Baptist and St. Peter’s churches respectively. Acoustic blues duo Holly & Evan, who played at Wednesday's preview, will be one of the acts presented at the Saratoga Arts Center.
- Alonzo Fireworks will once again present their dazzling display at midnight to ring in 2012.
Artist Sharon Bolton, who has won awards and popular acclaim for her previous First Night Saratoga posters, unveiled the official 2012 Art Unleashed poster. That design also appears on the buttons which have become valued keepsakes from these events, in addition to providing admission to the events.
Maria Panayotou, First Night volunteer coordinator, noted that about 150 volunteer hosts/hostesses are still needed for 3-hour shifts at various venues and pre-event activities. Interested parties should contact Maria at
A complete schedule is online at www.saratoga-arts.org/firstnight. The website also has information about related and popular events such as the First Night 5K run (also see page 36), a First Night preview event ("Holidays Unleashed") next Wednesday, December 7, at Longfellows Restaurant, as well as shuttle bus and online button sales information.
Admission buttons are $15 per person, children 5 and under are free. The buttons are on sale now at Saratoga Arts, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, as well as the Saratoga Springs branches of the YMCA, Price Chopper Supermarkets in the greater Capital Region, Stewart's Shops in Saratoga County, Adirondack Trust banks and at Crafters Gallery, 427 Broadway, Saratoga Springs.
Buttons that are purchased online may be picked up at Saratoga Arts prior to or on the evening of First Night. In previous years, buttons have sold out, so early purchase is recommended.