SARATOGA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The countdown to 2023 is closing in and venues across Saratoga are setting up to ring in the new year.
“I like seeing that passion in the people, in the artists, and even our staff. You know you can just see it and a buzz in the whole city even really,” says Gary “Sly” Fox, general manager of Putnam Place.
It’s been a long pandemic wait without Saratoga’s “First Night”, which has always been popular, but under new management, organizers have decided to rebrand this year as the “Saratoga New Year’s Fest“.
“What we wanted to do is create an event that would attract people, not just from the local community, but from afar. From Canada if they’re following the Cowboy Junkies or New York City, if they’re following The Samples. We wanted to make this a destination event,” explains Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus.
This year’s two-day event will focus on live music and entertainment at 14 different venues across the Spa City, from jam bands at Putnam Place to karaoke at Pint Sized. Venue owners say they’re excited to welcome back the New Year’s crowds.
“I would say that the people that come out to shows—I still don’t think we’re back to 100%—some people have just changed their lifestyles and stuff, but the people that come out to shows love music and you can tell they missed it,” Fox says to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
“Events like this, public events, downtown events, it’s time to get back to it. So I’m thrilled for this to come back, and hopefully this sets some energy to bring back things like Hats On, Hats Off or other events we haven’t seen the past couple of years,” says August Rosa, the owner of Pint Sized.
Shimkus says revenue is already massively up compared to 2019 and with that, they’re expecting larger crowds as well. He says the new event comes with new security plans too that will pair with the increased police patrols.
“A key piece of that, right, is the fireworks going off at 6 PM. What that means is at midnight—should there be any shenanigans going on downtown—the police can focus on that. They don’t have to provide security around the area where we are shooting fireworks off,” he explains.
Click here to find a full list of the Saratoga New Year’s Fest venues, entertainment acts, and schedule.