In late summer of 1995, the Canajoharie Economic Development Committee (CEDE), along with concerned members of our community, recognized the need for revitalization of Canajoharie's core business district. The Mainstreet Committee was organized and charged with developing a plan for the future of the downtown area. Long-term goal were developed and specific ideas targeted that would enhance the appearance and vitality of the community. In the short term, even that would create interest and pride in Canajoharie were encouraged.
During a public meeting held by the CEDE, Bob Buck and Phyllis Lapi brought the concept for Music on Mainstreet before the committee. Our goals were to provide a common place for residents to gather, visit, support their village, and to enjoy free musical entertainment. We also felt that this would be an opportunity to showcase our business district, schools and homes, by attracting visitors from outside of our area. With Canajoharie being 40 miles distance in either direction from any major source of live entertainment, we felt that Music on Mainstreet could provide the same type venue that residents of larger cities enjoy.
So in the fall of 1995, Music on Mainstreet was born. The committee consisted of Bob Buck, Phyllis Lapi, Ron Dievendorf and Jeff Chapple. Being inexperienced and naive, we started the season with a very aggressive schedule. We applied for and received a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts Decentralized Regrant Program, administered by the Schoarie County Arts Council. Our program consisted of eleven shows at a cost of $5000. When we received notification of our $1000 grant award (substantially less than we needed), we had to make a decision whether or not to proceed with our ambitious schedule. By a unanimous decision, we decided to continue. Of necessity, we quickly learned the art of fund raising. The money was raised, the show went on, and the rest is history.