A toastto planning

Riesling Festival logo

The Finger Lakes Riesling Festival in Canandaigua is the only local festival that capitalizes on the region’s unique assets: rolling hills, gorgeous lakes, bountiful crops and wine production. Dixon Schwabl wanted to use what we’d learned in previous years to improve results for 2013. We conducted a survey with vendors to determine aspects of the festival that could be enhanced. And through social media, we started a dialogue with festivalgoers and discovered what they most enjoyed.

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When it comes to big, important events, nothing is more important than proper planning. (A cliché, but it’s true.) From understanding fire codes, attracting vendors and signing sponsors, to selecting entertainment and securing city approvals and liquor licenses, festival planning can be a monster. A few of the hurdles we overcame:

  • »Location change, one month out. DS quickly obtained approval from the property owner at a new location.
  • »Securing municipal approvals. DS received approval to use areas of Lakeshore Drive after many town planning, city council and town board meetings.
  • »Licenses and permits. DS successfully applied for numerous permits—city and state safety, liquor, health department, fire department, etc.

Festival organizers had ambitious goals: attendance (30,000), charity donation ($30,000), improved vendor/visitor experience and increased revenues (by $5,000). In the end, all of the goals were achieved, and then some. The wine made it festive, but careful planning made it an event.