First night to be celebrated in Saranac Lake

SARANAC LAKE - The ball will drop on New Year's Eve in Saranac Lake to welcome 2008. The second First Night Celebration in Saranac Lake has expanded, offering more entertainment options for attendees. The event offers a variety of venues, each offering a rotating array of performers. The event kicks off with a community parade at 5:30 p.m. from the Hotel Saranac to the village hall. Kazoos will be handed out to create a kazoo band. From 6-midnight, performers will entertain. Petrova School has been added as a venue, making nine different sites throughout the community hosting activities. Entertainment will include something for everyone, with a regional performers being joined by several headliners from outside the region. Musical artists include Roy Hurd and Frank Orsini, Dan Duggan & Peggy Lynn, Stan Oliva Band, Three Doug Knight, Bear Tracks, Bernice Lewis, Powder Kegs, Mark Gamsjager and The Lustre Kings, Elaine Dewar, Christine Lavin and the River Rat Rhythm Steel Drum Band. "Our goal is to get more community involvement, which we've succeeded at," said event organizer Sue Patterson. Patterson said an effort had been made to involve local teenagers. A middle school rock band, Spade, will perform early in the evening. The group is comprised of Jeremy Florence on the guitar, Jon LaPierre on drums, Adam Cross on guitar, Skylar Buckley on bass, and vocalist Griffeon Chuba. The group will cover rock music from the past two decades. "We really want to encourage all age of people to come, and want to get the high school and middle school involved. There's great ways to have a good time and have fun and not be drinking," said Patterson. Patterson also highlighted local participation in the Mountains in Motion Dance Project. The repertoire for First Night will include tap, jazz, and hip hop from dancers in grades 4 - 12, along with adult performers. For comedy fans, Saranac Lake's Improvisational Theatre group will strive to make audiences laugh and hopefully make you think about how we're all connected in the simplest, funniest ways. Everything is totally non-scripted; never seen before and never to be seen again. Group members include Amy Coddington-Burnett, Janis Beatty, Manny Bernstein, Jenn Grisi, Mary O'Dell, Sunita Halasz, and Jason Amrhein. Juggler, unicyclist, fire eater, stilt walker, rope walker, hatchet thrower, balloon sculptor and balancer, Stephen Gratto is a physical comedian and much, much more. All performances are fast-paced and exciting displays of classic vaudeville and circus skills including many feats of daring, bravery, and side-splitting foolishness. The high point of each act is invariably the audience participation. Loon Works will also be performing. The group is comprised of art and education specialists providing entertainment using magic, clowning, puppetry, storytelling, educational workshops and holiday or special event caricatures. The countdown to the new year will take place at Riverside Park, with the Saranac Lake Fire Department dropping the new year's eve "ball" to mark the moment 2008 arrives. The ball is, appropriately enough for Saranac Lake, a snowflake designed by Saranac Lake High School student Charles Fisk as part of his engineering studies. The event is free to children twelve and under, making it an affordable family night. Buttons for adults can be purchased for $10 at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Ampersound Music, Blue Line Sport Shop, Books & Baskets, Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce, and SnapShot Photo, and in Lake Placid at the Lake Placid Visitors Bureau. Last year, the buttons were so popular that the committee ran out. This year, a supply of 5,000 has been purchased. A button entitles people to enter all venues. A variety of community groups will be selling food at several locations throughout the community. Patterson said organizers were hoping for 2,000 people to attend the event, and for good weather. For more information, a schedule of events and venues, go online to www.firstnightsaranaclake.org .

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