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Celebrate the New Year at First Night Saratoga

Editor's Note: As of 2022, First Night Saratoga is under new leadership and has been renamed the Saratoga New Year's Fest. Check out our new page about the event for all the latest details.

Below, you can still read about the last First Night Saratoga and what the event featured.

First Night Saratoga is New York's largest New Year's Eve event outside of New York City! As one of the oldest and largest First Night celebrations in the country, First Night is the most affordable, accessible, family-friendly, safe, and exciting way to spend New Year's Eve in the region. The 2020 theme is "A New Dimension."

dancer on stage

Highlights From Last Year's First Night 2020

A fireworks show in Congress Park at 5:45 pm will start First Night off with a bang. Then, a Digital Midnight celebration will close out the evening. Saratoga Arts, in conjunction with CMI Audio Visual, Dave Bigler Studios, and the Pavilion Grand Hotel, will set off digital fireworks at the Saratoga Springs City Center.

In the 20 minutes leading up to midnight an exclusive video will run that incorporates user-submitted photos of previous First Night celebrations. The video will wrap up with the digital fireworks. Anyone who has the URL will be able to watch from anywhere!

More to look forward to:

  • Live music from dozens of bands covering a full range of genres
  • A host of new performers in addition to returning favorites
  • Additional theater, dance, martial arts, and other groups
  • Storycrafters and more for kids
  • Annual First Night 5K Run at 5:30pm
  • First Night events kick off at 5:45 pm with a fireworks show in Congress Park.

First Night 2020 Headliners

  • Wild Adriatic
  • The Figgs
  • The Joey Thompson Big Band

First Night 2020 Music

Music spans all genres: rock, country, jazz, blues, classical, and more. In addition to the above headliners you can expect:

  • We're History
  • The McKrells
  • Tambourelli & Her SuperTrips
  • The Onlys
  • The Schmooze
  • Mark Tolstrup & Friends
  • Drank the Gold
  • Desertion Trio
  • Mike Campese
  • Cloud Lifter
  • That Duo
  • Logan Spaleta
  • The Racing City Chorus
  • Saratoga High School Fiddle Club
  • Hot Club of Saratoga
  • Doug Irving
  • The North & South Dakotas
  • Saratoga Soundtrack Chorus
  • Drew Wardle
  • Blind Crow
  • Chris Sanders
  • Belle-Skinner
  • Deja Vu Jazz
  • Sime Gezus
  • Old Time Dance Band
  • Pat Attanasio
  • Robanic
  • The Curley Lamb Nu-Soul-Jaz Group
  • Grit N Whiskey
  • Big Fez and The Surfmatics
  • HellCat Maggie
  • Brain Medicine
  • Reprise
  • Saratoga Youth Symphony
  • Maddy Hicks
  • Steve Candlen
  • Masters of Nostalgia
  • Angel's Envy
  • Katie Louise
  • Corry Loveday
  • Hamilton Craig
  • Roben Kosek Jazz and Blues
  • The Geo Beat Quartet

First Night 2020 Additional Groups & Performances

  • Saratoga Budo Martial Arts
  • Arm-of-the-Sea Theater
  • The Dance Lab
  • Chinese Theater Works
  • Storycrafters
  • Heavenly Body Art & Face Painting and Henna
  • Shakespeare Approves
  • Joan Scannell - It's in the Cards Tarot and Numerology
  • On Deck Saratoga
  • Instituto Humiata Capoeira
  • Uncharted Wild
  • Silent Wing Raptors
  • Country Line Dance Lessons With Kevin Richards

First Night 2016 in Congress Park

Photo: Jacob Weakland

First Night Fireworks 2016

first night fireworks
Photo Credit: John Seymour

Dancers performing at the Saratoga City Center

A Beatles cover band performs

A dancer at the Saratoga City Center

Runners take off at the First Night 5K

Runners participate in the First Night 5K

Shuttle and Parking

Free shuttle! CDTA offers a special Saratoga First Night transportation service on New Year's Eve, putting First Night attendees within easy walking distance of all the venues. Attendees who show First Night buttons ride for free on all regular Saratoga bus routes and the two special shuttle routes from 4pm through 1am. All bus stops are marked with yellow First Night signs and arrive and depart every 15 minutes from all spots on the First Night downtown loop. See bus stop locations »

You can also park at the Wilton Mall or leave your car in place at Skidmore after the 5K roadrace!

Special stops:

  • Wilton Mall at 5:30pm to Congress Park
  • Skidmore at 6:45pm to Congress Park
  • Congress Park at 8:30pm to Wilton
  • Wilton at 8:45pm to Congress Park
  • Congress Park at 10:15pm to Skidmore
  • Congress Park at 12:30am to Skidmore and then Wilton

The Wilton bus stop is on the side of the Dick's Sporting Goods building - not the bus stop in front of Bon Ton.

If you have questions about the bus routes/stops, visit the CDTA's supervisor van near Congress Park.

By Car

The best parking is on the street near the performance site you're attending. Off-street parking is available in the following lots:

  • Woodlawn Avenue, between Division and Church Streets
  • Church Street, at the corner of Woodlawn Avenue
  • Broadway, between Lake Avenue and Grove Street, across from Walton Street
  • Parking garage at Putnam and Phila Streets
  • Parking lot behind the Saratoga Springs Senior Center
  • Park at the Wilton Mall and take the CDTA shuttle
  • Leave your car in place after the 5K roadrace at Skidmore
  • Not a runner? Park at Skidmore after 6:45pm when the campus is opened back up to vehicles

See the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce's parking map. Street parking is available as well, just make sure to pay attention to the posted time limits, which vary from location to location.


Most First Night venues are within reasonable walking distance of each other. It's a beautiful stroll through downtown Saratoga Springs, but dress warm as it can be chilly! Most shops and restaurants are open late, so you can also stop in to your favorite spot to warm up.

See First Night Saratoga 2020 Entertainment Venues - Link Will Be Available in Late 2020 »


One button does it all! A First Night Saratoga admission button provides you access to all First Night venues, performances, and happenings, plus the free shuttle all night long. Buttons only cost $20 (or $15 if purchased online or at Saratoga Arts between November 5 and December 25).

By mid-December, buttons can be purchased at any of the following partner locations for $20. Check back here soon for when they'll be available, or call Saratoga Arts at 518.584.4132 for specific dates about when buttons will be available from their partners:

  • The Adirondack Trust Bank (all locations)
  • Price Chopper Supermarkets (all Saratoga County stores and select Albany markets)
  • Marriott Residence Inn (295 Excelsior, Saratoga)
  • Saratoga Arts (320 Broadway, Saratoga)

You can also buy your button online »

Didn't get your button yet? You can purchase one on December 31st at the following locations:

  • Saratoga Arts (320 Broadway)
  • Saratoga City Center (522 Broadway) between 4pm and 10pm
  • Lake Avenue School (126 Lake Avenue) between 6pm and 9pm
  • The Children's Museum at Saratoga (69 Caroline Street) between 12pm and 6pm

Please note: Make sure to wear your button visibly throughout the evening at First Night.

Volunteer at First Night!

First Night would not be possible without the help of many dedicated volunteers! Typically about 150 to 175 volunteers help out but this year they are hoping for 275 - about 100 for the 5K and 175 at venues. No experience in volunteering is needed, they will help you. You can work a three-hour shift or an all-night shift, which would allow you to see all the performers at a particular venue.

All First Night volunteers receive a free button and a complimentary First Night Saratoga 2020 poster, to be picked up at Saratoga Arts after January 3rd. In addition, volunteers who serve as Site Captains or Area Managers and work the entire evening receive a complimentary, year-long membership to Saratoga Arts.

For more information on being a volunteer visit Saratoga Arts' website or contact Mary Henninger, First Night Volunteer Coordinator, at 518.584.4132, extension 208, or email

Make First Night Saratoga a yearly New Year's tradition for your family! For more information on this holiday event, contact Saratoga Arts at 518.584.4132 or visit them online.

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