Saratoga Arts To Debut First-Ever ‘Digital Midnight’ For First Night 2020 (Exclusive)

Saratoga Arts will ring in the new year with a 20-minute video, featuring photos from the community and a digital fireworks display.

Weather has hampered fireworks displays at First Night's past, so this year, Saratoga Arts will be launching its first-ever Digital Midnight sendoff. (Katie Dobies)

Fireworks on New Year’s Eve are so 2019. Beginning with this year’s First Night Saratoga 2020 celebration, saratoga living has learned that, in lieu of the traditional fireworks display in Congress Park to ring in the new year, Saratoga Arts, in cooperation with CMI Audio Visual, Dave Bigler Studios and the Pavilion Grand Hotel, will be setting off a digital one.

Enter the brand-new “Digital Midnight” format, featuring a pair of digital display screens situated at the Saratoga Springs City Center, which will act as an informational backdrop throughout the night; and then, for the 20 minutes leading up to new years, will run an exclusive video, produced by CMI Audio Visual, incorporating user-submitted photos of Saratogians’ experiences from previous First Night celebrations. The video will culminate with a digital fireworks display, complete with sound effects.

“Saratoga Arts is excited to explore a new concept for the new decade to compliment all of our planned events to welcome [in] the new year,” says Susanne Simpson, president of the board at Saratoga Arts. “[There will be] 60 performances at 30 venues, a 5K [and] visitors from virtually 50 percent of the US. It’s going to be an exciting evening.”

Time is of the essence to submit your photos for inclusion in the exclusive First Night video: Dave Bigler Studios will be collecting user photos beginning on Thursday, December 12, and ending on Monday, December 17, with all solicited photos being incorporated into the 20-minute video mashup. To gild the lily, Saratoga Arts will be providing all First Night ticket-holders with a special URL of the countdown video, so that they can watch the video (and potentially, the countdown and fireworks display) from their smartphones without having to leave a special performance or cut a meal short.

For the two weeks following First Night, locals will get to vote on their favorite photo from the Digital Midnight video on social media, and a winner will be declared on Thursday, January 16. The winner will receive his or her award at an official presentation event at the Saratoga Arts Center and will receive a free overnight stay at the Pavilion Grand.

First Night buttons are currently on sale for $20—or $15, if purchased online before December 26—and offer priority access to the many venues hosting exclusive First Night events. Children 12 and under get in for free. (Buttons can be purchased here.)

—additional reporting by Will Levith

Jeff Dingler

Jeff Dingler is saratoga living's Senior Writer. He's a graduate of Skidmore College and a professional musician.


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