Puyallup Herald

Longtime organizers will continue to run Puyallup Farmers Market, city decides

Puyallup group wants to make their town a destination

Kerry Yanasak, interim director of the Puyallup Main Street Association, hopes to help make his town a destination.
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Kerry Yanasak, interim director of the Puyallup Main Street Association, hopes to help make his town a destination.

Despite a months-long, contentious debate, the Puyallup Main Street Association will continue to manage the Puyallup Farmers Market and other popular community events for the next three years.

Puyallup City Council voted last month to select PMSA as event coordinator through 2020-22 for the Farmers Market, Meeker Days Festival and Santa Parade.

PMSA leaders thanked people for their support online following the packed council meeting on March 26.

“7-0 vote guarantees the events we all love will still be in capable hands!” PMSA executive director Kerry Yanasak wrote on the PMSA Facebook page.

The council’s November decision to put the popular events out to bid instead of awarding them to PMSA, which has managed them for years, stirred community unrest and prompted questions of the motives of some council members.

Some council members supported the RFP process, stating it was more transparent. Other members said the city didn’t own the events and had no business putting them out to bid.

PMSA leaders felt they were being singled out by council and rallied community support.

Only two organizations applied to manage the events: Puyallup Main Street Association and Foster’s Creative, an events promotion company based in Tacoma.

At the March 26 meeting, both organizations presented to a crowded room. Council voted unanimously to approve a three-year contract with PMSA.

“This process, as painful as it has been and maybe as undesired as some may have wanted to have it, will turn out to be beneficial for the Main Street Association, or our city,” Councilman Dean Johnson said.

Others felt the process was a “waste of time.”

“Glad this RFP process is over — I hope it never comes back again,” said one person during public comment. “Those events were not owned by the city of Puyallup. It’s a complete sham to put out an RFP.”

The council indicated it would like to work with Foster’s Creative for other events.

The 2019 Puyallup Farmers’ Market kicked off Saturday (April 20) at Pioneer Park in Puyallup. The market runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through October.