Getting First Night Ready
Downtown Holiday Shopping Guide
5 Paths to Winter Adventure in Saranac Lake

New Year's Eve is a special, even unique, holiday. It is the only one which celebrates both the old, and the new.

It is a time to look backward and forward. To take the stress off of such endeavors, you should also have a good time.

To help with that, Saranac Lake's First Night gives you many choices to celebrate the turn of the year — your way.

It's also a great gift idea. With events for all ages, why not invite the whole clan for a holiday celebration this year?

the arts

The 12th annual First Night Saranac Lake is an all-ages celebration of many arts. There are 18 performers among 10 venues from 6 p.m. to midnight. The range of entertainment includes live music from many different cultures.

Kick back to some fine country fiddling, move your feet with samba or swing, or get down and get funky.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/RFN-fiddling.jpg) with alt text: "Whatever your musical tastes, you will likely find a favorite — since there are a dozen to choose from."

At the Elks Lodge, enjoy the eclectic sound of Black Mountain Symphony, they move between baroque violin and funk-rock. They are followed by Primate Fiasco, with their unique blend of high-energy dance music played on old-school instruments.

If that's not your cup of tea, go bluegrass with North Country favorite The Atkinson Family, debuting at First Night Saranac Lake this year. The crowds couldn't get enough of Vermont fiddler Patrick Ross, who fronted the bluegrass quartet Hot Flannel last year.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/RFN-dancingtownhall.jpg) with alt text: "When all you want to do is dance."

Maybe you are looking for a good laugh. This year, First Night welcomes local favorite, and nationally renowned, stand-up comic Owen Benjamin. Or perhaps you'll enjoy throwing out ideas for the improv comedy troupe Completely Stranded, a First Night favorite.

There will be plenty of family shows. This year welcomes the Nate & Kate Kids Show, a husband and wife team who mix songs and juggling. Everyone can get into the groove of Soma Beats, a local African dance troupe. LoonWorks is a perennial First Night favorite -  magic, clowning, and (if you wish) audience participation, what could be more fun?

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/RFN-unicycle.jpg) with alt text: "One of these people is an audience volunteer."

Close the party with the amazing sounds of Soulsha, a self-described “Afro-Celtic funk” band from Boston. If you haven't danced to a high-energy blend of bagpipes, African percussion, fiddle, horns, bass, and drums, there is no need to wait any longer. First Night organizers are intent on keeping dancers out on the floor until the stroke of midnight.

That is when everyone drifts out to the downtown lakefront, where there will be a snowflake drop (our Adirondack versoin of the classic ball drop), and then fireworks over Lake Flower. The sight of brightness splitting the black velvet sky and reflecting off the ice and snow makes for a very special end to 2017.

the ease

Whether you are looking for a fun night out with the children, or a fun night out with the adults, First Night makes getting around easy. Most of the venues are walkable, and there are shuttle busses available for the ones further away.

As seen below, First Night lets you assemble an enjoyable night from your favorite kinds of entertainment.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/schedule2018.jpg) with alt text: "Click on image to display PDF."

Josee Allard will be playing her original feel-good songs, while drama fans can enjoy the bits of different plays put on by the Adirondack Shakespeare Company, chosen to entertain and enlighten teens and adults.

This year there are two acts inspired by Roosevelt presidents. Colorado-based impersonator Joe Weigand becomes Teddy Roosevelt in a show he performed this fall to a packed town hall in Saranac Lake.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/RFN-TeddyR.jpg) with alt text: "The only way to meet the Rough Rider, one of our most amazing Presidents."

Roosevelt Dime, named for FDR rather than TR, is a swinging downstate band full of soul and banjo, while Saranac Lake swing jazz band Crackin’ Foxy shows off the chops that enlivens their audience year after year. The Caramelo Trio are for samba, bossa nova, tango and other Latin American fans.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/RFN-kidstuff.jpg) with alt text: "Every age can feel part of the occasion."

First Night mixes up the lineup every year, but everyone welcomes back Adirondack songwriting legend Roy Hurd. Country fans will celebrate the return of Gabrielle Rabideau and Movin’ On.

Whatever the interests of your group, you can find the right act to expand, and enjoy, that sound and feel.

the eats

All of our dining will have chefs and bartenders looking for a special chance to show off their talents. Many of them are downtown, part of the walkable area.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/RFN-eatsFiddlehead.jpg) with alt text: "Fiddlehead Bistro is always serving up something new and different."

From comfort food to gourmet, the night can be a lovely dinner or a series of interesting appetizers. There's nothing quite like opening the door to a blast of warmth, both from the indoor heat and the greetings you will get.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/RFN-BittersBonesbar.jpg) with alt text: "Stay nearby, walk to the venues, and ring in the New Year with friends... wherever you are."

No matter where you gather, or who you gather with, this is a time to discuss the Old Year, and what you want to see in the New Year. Relax, and enjoy!

Remember, those resolutions don't kick in until the next day.

Missing image ( Pamela%20Merritt/RFN-2018button.jpg) with alt text: "The 2018 button which admits to all venues."

Be there.

Button sale locations, performer bios and photos, donation and volunteer opportunities, and more can be found at our First Night page.

Did you know you can also buy your buttons online? Availabe now: adults (ages 20+) are $15 in advance or $20 day of; teens (ages 13-19) are $7; and kids 12 and under are free.

Choose your lodging. Consider some shopping. Don't forget our attractions.

This week in related ADK news:

Go for the gold

Seven-stop shopping

Stay cozy, stay close

Time’s a ticking

Down for the holidays

The gift of experience

Pieced together

Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Events, Winter
Downtown Holiday Shopping Guide
5 Paths to Winter Adventure in Saranac Lake

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