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Van Nuys : Farmer’s Place Plans a Filipino Festival

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Trying to capitalize on the ethnic diversity of the Valley, a farmers market run by the Volunteer Center of the San Fernando Valley has planned a Filipino Cultural Festival for Saturday.

“We’re planning to hold a series of different cultural festivals,” said Cambria Smith, a volunteer in the marketing and special projects office for the Volunteer Center. Last month, the Farmer’s Place at Van Nuys Boulevard and Sylvan Street held a festival celebrating Thai culture that drew about 800 people.

The next festival may be dedicated to Armenian or Mexican culture.

The Farmer’s Place opened in early April and is still building a base of customers. On average, about 600 to 700 attend each week.

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“We are still growing,” said Smith, who explained that the market is not expected to make money during its first year. “We have a solid core of customers who come back week after week.”

While she did not have any specific figures, Smith said revenues from the operation generally match basic expenses. Not included, however, is the cost of staffing from the Volunteer Center and overhead expenses.

“We’re not actually making very much money,” she said. “It’ll be a year or two before we do. That’s to be expected with any market.”

But the point of the market is not so much to be a money-making venture but to make affordable food available to poor families in the Valley, Volunteer Center officials say.

Saturday’s Filipino Cultural Festival, to be held from 8 a.m. to noon, will include Filipino dancing, cooking demonstrations, music, singing, handicrafts and vegetables.

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