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Saranac Thursdays kick off for 2012 season

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The 14th annual Saranac Thursdays officially kicked off Thursday night, with the gates opening their doors to partiers around 5:30 p.m.

The band Dashboard Nixon was providing music on stage for the annual event's 2012 start, which has a $5 admission charge that gets you through the gates and one beverage. That $5 donation goes to benefit the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica area.

This year, the gates will stay open until 9 p.m., but the celebrations don't stop at that point, as many bars along the street are ready for the spillover when Saranac Thursday ends.

"It's a really, really big day for us," said Tom Powers, owner of the Celtic Harp. "We all prepare well ahead of time for a day like today and for the season, not just today but the season in general. You know, there wouldn't be so many businesses on this road without Saranac Thursday. I guess I could put it that way."

"If it wasn't for the Matts, we never would've done this, whatsoever. By them bringing 3,000 people down to the street, that's what prompted me to build Sickenburger to hold about 1,300 people," said Steve Klosek, who owns Sickenburger Lane, along with The Varick and The Stievfater Room.

Both bar owners added outdoor venues to their bars to keep people on Varick Street after Saranac Thursday's gates close. Sickenburger will have a DJ there broadcasting music videos on a new 30 foot screen, while Celtic Harp will have the band Gridley Paige playing through the night.

Of course, those are just a few of the many bars on Varick Street ready to keep the fun going for partiers Thursday night.

Klosek says with all the bars now open on Varick, the whole street can hold about 5,000 people, which he says is great for business and great for people.

Utica Police will also be on the street Thursday night, reminding people that they will be paying close attention to the open container law.

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