The Northridge Farmers’ Market’s opening event

C. Megan Diskin

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Northridge Fashion Center kicked off the 2013 Spring season of the Farmer’s Market and Family Festival with entertainment, food and rides Wednesday evening.

Northridge Fashion Center’s seasonal Farmers’ Market and Family Festival brought out community members for an evening of family fun. Magicians, balloon animal artists, temporary tattoo artists, and face painters, were among the family friendly activities, als

The Granada Hills Charter High School Highlander Marching Band also performed.

Participants had the opportunity to ride the giant blow-up slide, jump inside the bouncy house and pet farm animals in the petting zoo. More adventurous guests stepped into a harness to jump on the bungee trampoline to show off their flipping skills.

Locally grown organic produce was available for purchase and some booths even gave guests free samples.

A highlight of the event were the various booths dedicated to selling food. Some of the booths stayed away from the fair-type foods by offering hummus, pierogies, Peruvian, Hawaiian and Mexican food.

But guests could still find those deep fried foods they might be craving for.

“I decided to(use) deep fried (foods) as a gimmick,” Jeff Ardi said.

Ardi, who attended CSUN in 2007, set up a booth to promote his catering company Mr. Ardi’s Catering. He left CSUN to attend culinary school. This was Ardi’s third year at the event. He comes to the Farmers’ Market to promote his catering business with the allure of his smoked BBQ brisket, a dish he his most known for.

“I mainly try to do smoked meat, but if you call me I can do anything,” Ardi said.

Ardi wasn’t the only former CSUN student promoting their work.

Warrant Officer Dave Pulos, a 2006 CSUN recreation tourism management graduate, was recruiting students for the school he teaches at, North Valley Military Institute, formerly North Valley Charter Academy. He also serves as the assistant commandant.

NVMI  is a sister school to the Oakland Military Institute, co-founded by Gov. Jerry Brown. NVMI is a free public college preparatory school for grades 6-12.

“The Oakland Military Institute has 80% of graduating seniors accepted to a four year university. We want to bring that down here,” Pulos said.

Nineteen-year-old Prinz Francisco, current accounting major at College of the Canyons and hopeful future CSUN student, was promoting his business, Oh Mini Donuts.

Francisco’s father wanted him to know what it was like to run a business so he bought Francisco the necessary equipment. This is Francisco’s second year at the farmer’s market.

The Farmers’ Market will take place every Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. through October 2013.