SARATOGA, N.Y. (NEWS10) Saratoga’s annual and ever popular “First Night” has been sorely missed since the pandemic canceled festivities. This year, under new management the event is rebranded as “Saratoga New Year’s Fest”. Organizers bringing in musical acts from around the world to play at 14 different venues across the Spa City.

The Spa City is ready for the influx of tens of thousands of people this year, according to Todd Shimkus, Chamber of Commerce President. Both organizers and police say they are ready to handle the end of year crowds on all fronts.  

Visitors to Saratoga want to end their year right. Police Spokesperson Paul Veitch tells NEWS10 they have taken the precautions to avoid anything similar to the recent violence in the city.

“Staffing levels have been increased beginning at 5pm to account for the influx of visitors to the city tonight.  Patrols will be visible in and around the downtown area at the venues and for the fireworks display.   Staffing levels will remain elevated until 5am to account for the increase of patrons in the downtown bars and restaurants.” -Paul Veitch

The fireworks, featuring nearly 3000 pyrotechnics for this year’s display, set off at 6 p.m. to help promote a family friendly environment which will also help the SSPD be able to better serve the community in the later hours.

Shimkus says the newly renamed “Saratoga New Year’s Fest” is a money maker for local businesses and hopes to annualize the event.

“it’s a destination event. We know from registration we have folks coming from as far as way as Canada to be here and enjoy the entertainment that’s being provided. And what we hope is that they dine out at local restaurants, shop at local stores and stay at local hotels.  And that will give us a tremendous economic boost heading into the rest if winter,” said Shimkus.

Putnam Place is one of more than a dozen venues hosting musical guests for the year-end event.

General Manager Sly Fox place tells NEWS10 they are thrilled and it’s about time to get the party going, again. 

“It’s been a couple years since the pandemic talk with other club owners, I think everybody’s staffed well lots of security we’re ready for everybody to come into town and have a great time that’s what we’re expecting,” said Fox

Kayla Roberts who bartends at Putnam Place predicts a safer Saratoga in 2023.

“I’m just super excited for bringing Saratoga back to what its natural state is being the place to go where you’re safe and you’re having fun and it’s just going to be a good time. I’m super excited,” said Roberts.

NEWS10 had a chance to talk with folks about some of their new year resolutions. Listed below are a few of those resolutions.

  • To eat healthier and go outside more.
  • Not to spend money that you do not have. Do not have two pieces of pie just stick with one.
  • No resolutions. My resolution is no resolution.
  • To be a nicer person.

And for all of those with physical fitness as a New Year’s resolution, the two-day event will include a 5k at 11 a.m. Sunday. Plenty of time to rest up and prepare after Saturday night’s reveling in Saratoga.