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Mother’s Day-themed Broxton Nights Market brings families, community together

Myriam Flores, a parent of a graduating Bruin, sells her handmade items and goods in Westwood. She said she particularly likes to sell graduation-themed statuettes (pictured at the bottom center) to graduating Bruins. (Eva Danesh/Daily Bruin)

By Jonah Danesh and Eva Danesh

May 15, 2024 10:08 p.m.

Local small businesses set up shop on Broxton Avenue on Saturday evening to celebrate Mother’s Day with the Westwood community.

The Mama Palooza Broxton Nights Market brought mothers and their children from across the community together to indulge in specialty foods, browse artisan goods and enjoy live music. The event is an iteration of a series hosted by the Westwood Village Improvement Association on the second Saturday of every month.

Myriam Flores, a vendor at the market, said she upcycles, recycles and reuses materials to make a variety of handmade items that she sells at community events – including First Thursdays and Westwood’s weekly farmers’ market. Her items range from woven baskets to graduation statuettes, which she said she particularly likes to sell to graduating Bruins and their families.

Flores, who is also the parent of a graduating Bruin, said she incorporates items from Mexico into her art to share the beauty of her culture and traditions, adding that she seeks to make her goods with love. Surrounded by Mother’s Day festivities, Flores said she was happy to see the spotlight shine on moms, who she said tend to hide behind the scenes.

“Your mom is very important,” she said. “If your mom supports you, you can do anything you want – you can even fly.”

[Related Link: Students with Bruin mothers reflect on navigating college together]

Paramita Basu flew in from Seattle for Mother’s Day weekend to visit her daughter, third-year computer science and engineering student Samprikta Basu, after months of not seeing each other.

Samprikta said she frequents Broxton Avenue for various markets, so she was excited to share that part of her college experience with her mom during Saturday’s event.

“Even though we’re not always able to see each other physically, she’s always checking up on me,” she said. “She’s always supporting me and looking after me.”

(Eva Danesh/Daily Bruin)
Lenny Montes (right) and her team from Danzone Dance Studio danced with attendees throughout the evening. (Eva Danesh/Daily Bruin)

Lenny Montes, a mother and the creative director of Danzone Dance Studio, said being a mom comes with carrying a lot of responsibility, so it is important for moms to have opportunities to have fun. Members of her dance team encouraged attendees to join them in dance at the end of Broxton Avenue.

“It’s really cool to see how getting them to move and dance changes their mood and also the joy of being playful and just in that moment, having a good time” Montes said.

Montes added that dance is an opportunity not only to socialize but also to create deep and meaningful connections with others, as dancers come in as strangers and leave with lifelong friends.

(Eva Danesh/Daily Bruin)
Flower Van Vactor poses with her Modern Renaissance clothing brand. She created the brand to blend her love for Greek mythology with her interest in starting a clothing company. (Eva Danesh/Daily Bruin)

In the middle of Broxton Avenue, Flower Van Vactor showcased her clothing brand Modern Renaissance, attracting attendees with the pieces’ artistic prints

Van Vactor said her interest in Greek mythology and aspirations of having her own fashion line led to her creating clothing pieces, which range from jeans to dresses depicting Renaissance art paintings. She added that sharing mythological stories with shoppers adds meaning to the pieces they are browsing, as people gravitate toward different gods and goddesses for their own reasons.

After a few years of selling exclusively online, Van Vactor said she recently began selling in-person, adding that she appreciates opportunities such as the night market.

Like other small businesses at the event, Van Vactor said she also loves selling her items at the Bruin Flea market, as students are one of her target demographics.

“They feel like they could take a piece of the art with them,” she said. “They become the art within it when they’re wearing it.”

(Eva Danesh/Daily Bruin)
Martin Aranas co-founded Bite Club Sliders with his friends in 2020. Starting as a pop-up in Highland Park, Bite Club Sliders has expanded its reach to various events. (Eva Danesh/Daily Bruin)

Many local food vendors were also featured, including Bite Club Sliders, which was selling Australian wagyu and mushroom sliders and grilled cheese sandwiches. Martin Aranas, who serves as CEO, said he and his friends co-founded the company in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bite Club Sliders began as a food pop-up in Highland Park and then expanded to music festivals and other events, Aranas said, adding that his team is working toward opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant soon.

[Related: ​​Broxton Nights Sweetheart Market offers community space for attendees, loved ones]

Aranas added that he appreciates the night market’s celebration of mothers.

“We love our moms,” Aranas said. “We can’t be where we’re at without their support.”

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