FireworksThis 2011, my family is getting set to blend our old New Year's traditions with new ones. My daughter resolves to do less pouting in the New Year while my son hopes to decrease the frequency in which he teases his sister. He words this with so many loopholes that he tests my own New Year's Resolution, patience.

Each country seems to hold strongly to its own traditions around New Year's. I always think I will once again have a lucky year with the first taste of black-eyed peas. My recipe doesn't taste the same as it did when cooked by Mrs. Wilkins.

Perhaps a relaxing dinner in Lake Placid is more to your liking or skating around the Olympic Oval where all proceeds will benefit local food pantries. There are those that celebrate quietly with a gentle sleigh ride through Adirondack woods or let the New Year in with a bang.

ventriloquistIn its fifth year the Saranac Lake First Night® celebration seems to have something to please any palate. Just minutes from Lake Placid, storytellers, family dances, a ventriloquist, comedians, refreshments, music and fireworks will help us begin our 2011 year rituals.

Masked and costumed balls have long been a custom, symbolizing the evil of the old year. Those masks are then thrown off taking any bad spirits with them. The count down to the New Year gives one a moment to shake off the old and start fresh with a kiss. ("Yuck," says my daughter.)

Bluseed Studios, 24 Cedar Street, is offering children and adults the opportunity to make their own masks on December 31st from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.. Using a mixed medium, children can decorate the masks in anticipation of the First Night® Saranac Lake opening ceremonies on the steps of Harrieststown Town Hall at 5:45 p.m. that evening.

First Night Folk DanceIn addition to the other numerous activities First Night® Saranac Lake will host two family dances. A family folk dance will be held at Will Roger's Saranac Village from 8:00 p.m – 10:00 p.m. with Adirondack music provided by Peggy Lynn and Dan Duggan. People can stay at this dance as long as they wish while other events have limited seating.

The other dance venue is strictly for high schoolers. Entrance to both events is included with the purchase of a First Night® button($12). If a high school aged person does not want to attend other First Night activities then a $5 cover fee is applicable to just access this dance held at the Saranac Lake Elks Club.

Happy New Year! I wish you the best in 2011.

Diane Chase's Adirondack Family Time tip: If attending First Night® Saranac Lake, have children dress in easily removable layers. To travel between each venue you must go outside but once inside children can easily overheat. Bring a pair of inside shoes if you are going to attend the folk dance; it will make dancing easier to maneuver. Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time guidebook series and co-owner of the the young adult wilderness adventure program, Adirondack Outdoor Expeditions.

All photographs are the property of First Night Saranac Lake and are used with permission. First Night Saranac Lake's official photographers are Mark Kurtz, Jack Drury and Doug Fitzgerald.