Wednesday Night Market returns to delight crowds

Devin Schwarz, Staff Writer


Food. Wine. Music. Culture. The essence of Sonoma County is brought together in what appears to be a farmer’s market but is really so much more.

The Wednesday Night Market graces Fourth Street in the summer, and has provided family fun in downtown Santa Rosa for 26 years. This year the market began May 6, and runs all summer until August 19. Four-leg friendly, with food and family fun, there’s something for everyone here.

For the children, the market floods out onto E Street with jumpy houses, clowns, face painting and the star attraction, Euro Bungy, a rig that allows children to feel the thrill of bungee jumping with the safety of a trampoline beneath their feet. A variety of activities spread throughout the market that cater to the young and the young at heart.

The North Bay Herpetological Society booth is a must visit for families, students, and anyone who appreciates a scaly animal. Booth worker Jessica Ramirez had an Albino Red Tail Boa around her neck and a Dumeril’s Boa in the neckline of her shirt, and said that the society’s mission is to educate and show the public that “reptiles aren’t as bad as the media makes them out to be.”

While roaming the market you may need a quick bite to eat. A great place to stop is Micro Greens, serving south of the border inspired dishes with a Sonoma county twist: adding local, organic micro greens to every dish.

If you need a big bite, Willie Bird’s Turkey offers gargantuan turkey drumsticks that would make even the burliest of meat lovers proud.

For the past five years a popular attraction of Wednesday Night Market has been the Wine Garden, a place for adults to mingle, try local wineries and amazing food in a safe, child-free environment. The event shows off five to six local wineries each week, many of them changing each time, and has succulent BBQ selected specifically to pair with the wines.

This year the popular activity has gotten an exciting upgrade; it is now referred to as the “Craft Beer and Wine Garden.” The new format offers six wines and six craft beers each week with a focus on local micro-breweries and local wineries. This not only serves as a source of drinks for the event, but as Nicole Garcia, one of the organizers of the event, said, “It’s not just to taste; but to let people know what’s going on at the wineries and brew houses.” Ten dollars and you’re in the door and allowed to try six drinks of your choosing, mingle with other local brew appreciators and try some amazing food.

The event as a whole is constantly growing and there is demand for fresh product, local product and new product at the market. Terri Moore, a member of the board of directors for the event for over 10 years and former president of the board, would like to see more local farmers, local artists and arts and crafts activities.

Jesse Russell, an SRJC student who has been coming to the event for the past six years and is a long-time lover of its funnel cake, would like to see more interactive booths for children and adults.

Tyler Ambrecht, former SRJC student, commended the market for its wide variety of local food and craft items, but would love to see that variety continue to expand in coming years.

Check out the market this Wednesday night and get some grub and have some fun. Support local businesses and stimulate the local economy.