Pugh leaves Downtown Market

Another farm market director leaving

Longtime market director Tracey Pugh is stepping down from the Santa Rosa Downtown Market (aka Wednesday Night Market). Her departure is the third in series of Sonoma County market shakeups which have included the recent dismissal of Santa Rosa’s Original Farm Market manager Paula Downing and months-long arguments over the future direction of the Sonoma Farmer’s Market under the leadership of Hilda Schwartz.
Pugh is leaving the seasonal market after heading its direction for 13 years to work with her husband, Russ Pugh, who heads the Vineman triathalon. “I’m ready for a new adventure. I love the market and I only want good things for it,” she said in a phone interview Tuesday.
The downtown market, which typically runs from May through September, has been a popular evening venue during the summer, with a mix of farmers, downtown merchants, food vendors and entertainment. Funding for the independent non-profit comes from a combination of vendor stall fees and sponsorships, both of which were down this year due in part to the cool weather and economic downturn, according to Pugh. The market receives no cash funding from the city, but does receive significant “in-kind” assistance, according to Pugh, in the form of police, parking services and other city services. With continued city cuts, Pugh said she worries about the city’s ability to continue to support the event.
Currently there are no candidates in line for the position, and Pugh said the board would be seeking a replacement in the coming months. She will remain involved in operations through the end of the year.
“This has always been more than just a farmer’s market, this is a community event. We need to continue to create a place where people can come together and see their neighbors and friends,” Pugh said.