To establish the event as one of Canandaigua’s premier festivals, BID brought it in-house and hired seasoned event organizer and marketer Nicole Mahoney to run it. Nicole also handles marketing, events, merchant liaison and promotion of the Business Improvement District.
Nicole began her career out of high school when she went to work for her father’s business, Roc Communications Car Stereo on West Ridge Road in Rochester.
“I discovered I really enjoyed event planning. I organized in-car stereo competitions called ‘Sound Offs,’ where car stereos are tested for sound, installation and decibel level.”
From there, Nicole worked with Beau Productions, organizing Rochester’s Annual Air Show, the Charlotte Carousel and Harbor Festival, Rochester’s Lilac Festival and other events. She rose to Executive Director at Beau Productions.
About the time her first daughter was born – she has four, ranging in age from 7 months to 10 years old – she decided to do freelance event management.
She had such success working with Canandaigua’s Business Improvement District on a freelance basis, they hired her and, in 2006, she took over organizing the Annual Canandaigua Art & Music Festival.
Today, the Art & Music Festival is one of Canandaigua’s most popular events.
“We’ve really enhanced the festival and it now focuses only on Downtown Canandaigua. We get between 100 and 150 exhibitors, Our art show is now juried which has really raised the quality. Jury members review the applications looking for variety in the work as well as the price points.
“One thing we’ve done to differentiate ourselves from other shows is to bring in music hired by a talent agency. We get some terrific performing artists!
“And It’s very family-friendly. We have the Kids Korridor with a performance stage and lots of activities. Each year it changes, and we’ve offered everything from a petting zoo and face painting to an interactive music program offered by Hochstein.”
The Canandaigua Art & Music Festival is free to attendees so it draws a great crowd!