Greater Lansing Area Moms experience largest turnout yet for GLAM Jam summer event

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Cameron Warren

LANSING, Mich.—On June 9,  Greater Lansing Area Moms hosted their GLAM Jam event for the third year in a row. Accompanied by live music, Albert Avenue hosted numerous greater Lansing businesses, family resources and government program initiatives. This year, the event had to turn down vendors for the first time as the event experienced a larger crowd than ever before. 

“It’s gotten bigger and it’s more well-known. That alone, to me, echoes success,”  Christine McCallister, Co-Curator of the GLAM site said. “We’ve learned a lot about event planning, from organization to execution. Every year we learn something new.”

Albert Avenue hosts a number of businesses, family resources and government program initiatives. Photo by Cameron Warren
Employees for F45 gym demonstrate a rowing machine at the GLAM Jam event. Credit: Cameron Warren

Before the first GLAM Jam event in 2022, it was McCallister’s friend, Julie VanAcker, who pitched the idea to join The Local Moms Network and start a branch in Lansing. During the pandemic in 2020, the two struggled to find activities to keep their kids busy and also felt a lack of community. VanAcker was inspired by their high school friend who had started a similar organization in Chicago called North Shore Moms and decided to create that for the Lansing area. 

“We’re a part of this network, and we follow all the other sites in the area in the United States. And we watched them have these events that brought families together,” VanAcker said. “We’re like, we could totally do this during the summer with East Lansing being quieter because the students aren’t there. We thought it was a perfect opportunity.”

The GLAM Jam event not only helped McCallister and VanAcker create new outlets of entertainment for local families after the school year, but it also helped local businesses that struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Throughout the years of planning these annual events, the two relied heavily on Matt Apostle, the Community and Economic Specialist for the city of East Lansing. 

“I think it’s great to have fun and exciting events for people from all walks of life,” Apostle said. “Obviously, this event is pretty geared towards families, and I think it’s great to be able to have an event for families to come downtown to East Lansing to new businesses and increase foot traffic.” 

Greater Lansing Area moms kick off the summer with their GLAM Jam event, involving numerous activities for children. Photo by Cameron Warren
A face-painting booth offered free designs for kids attending the event. Credit: Cameron Warren

McCallister stressed that they didn’t want their name to be misleading, this event and their organization aren’t just limited to kids and parents. 

“I hope that it’s a place where everybody feels welcome,” McCallister said. “I always say that I have some friends who don’t have kids, and everyone has a mom or some sort of mom figure in their life. I think that we just want to continue to be a place in the community that helps some moms, but… everyone that needs help with time and things to do.”

McCallister and VanAcker plan to keep working alongside Apostle in improving their event each summer. 

“We spoke the week after the event and we started making plans for 2025, looking at different dates and things like that,” Apostle said. “I think it’ll likely continue to get larger in one way or another. We’ll be expanding the activities, expanding the vendors and expanding the marketing. We keep on growing the event every year.”

McCallister said what they really hope for the event is to bring the community together and provide resources through one-on-one interactions, rather than families only relying on the internet.

”It gives you the gift of time. That’s our slogan,” McCallister said. “So you don’t have to go searching because as a parent, you’re always looking for what is out there. This way we really try to have it all in one spot.”