First Night festivities highlight New Year’s traditions in Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The weather is frigid across the Capital Region, but that isn’t stopping thousands of people from heading up north to ring in 2018 for Saratoga Springs’ big New Year’s party, First Night.

Despite these frigid temperatures, the streets are alive in downtown Saratoga Springs. Thousands coming out to celebrate the New Year at the largest celebration in the region.

Some say a little cold, let alone sub-zero temperatures, never hurt anyone or stopped 1,000 people from running a 5K.

First Night kicked off with the annual 5k race at Skidmore College, where runners layered up wearing whatever they could to keep warm.

“We might as well be festive. If we’re going to freeze, we might as well have fun doing it,” said Theresa Felton, a 5K runner from Wilton, N.Y.

Theresa Felton and her husband, Jason considered skipping out but are proud of themselves for making it to the finish line.

“There were some kids that were walking by us saying it’s five degrees these people are crazy, so we feel good, it feels really good,” said Theresa Felton.

So too was the winner of the race, Lukas Motschmann. He is from Germany and had never ran in such conditions before.

“There were some fans that were shouting our names and the whole atmosphere was nice, so I think that was main reason that got me through the race,” said Motschmann.

From here people headed downtown, where most of the action will take place indoors.

A button provided entry 30 warm venues where you can watch bands, comedians and magicians.

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of First Night, which happens to be the oldest and largest New Year’s Eve celebration between New York City and Montreal.

Usually about 15-20,000 people come out for the event, especially the fireworks at midnight and the organizer isn’t expecting the cold to turn people away.

“If they dress warmly, if they dress in layers, they’re going to be fine. When you get into a venue it’s going to be just as warm as it ever was,” said Alix Jones, First Night Saratoga organizer.

They’re prepared for the frigid weather, placing heaters along Broadway and having CDTA buses shuttling people to the various venues.

“If you put enough layers on it’s not that cold, a hood, a hat, a couple of layers you’re good. ‘It’s still that cold,'” said Joe Parisi and Patti Misener from downstate.

Missing First Night wasn’t an option for them as they celebrate their anniversary.

“We couldn’t really pass up you know all of the wonderful entertainment there is,” Misener said.

What could be better than ringing in the New Year with those you love?

“It’s a great way to welcome the new year and say good bye to the old year and look forward to what’s to come,” Misener said.

There is still plenty of time to come out and enjoy the festivities, including fireworks at midnight in Congress Park.

But, if you’re heading downtown be aware there’s several roads blocked off tonight:

(per Saratoga Springs Police)

 

Parking and Road Closures for First Night

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