February 2024 Newsletter


Embracing the Month of Love

As we step into the month of February, a time synonymous with love and compassion, we are thrilled to bring you the latest updates from the OTCA. This month, our focus remains on building and fostering our community connection and growth, and we can’t wait to share the impact we’ve collectively made.

Thank you for being an integral part of our journey. Let’s spread love and kindness as we navigate through the exciting ventures that lie ahead!

A photo of our executive director speaking at a podium with a microphone.
1 Our Executive Director, Samantha Benson, speaking at our 2024 Annual Meeting.
A photo of the table set-up for our 2024 annual meeting, including a decorative candle, an agenda for the night, and our annual report for the year.
2 The table set-up for our 2024 Annual Meeting, showing a candle centerpiece, the agenda for the night, and our annual report for the year.
One of our board members speaking at our 2024 Annual Meeting.
3 Our board member, Beth Herendeen, speaking at our 2024 Annual Meeting.

From the Desk of the Director

Many people don’t enjoy late winter in Michigan but even with the gloomy skies as of late, our neighborhood has been so bright and lively as we get ready for February events and there’s something to see and be inspired by in every corner of Old Town. If you have a chance to visit the district, be sure to check out what’s in store at our local businesses!

Our 2024 Annual Meeting was filled with great food, a beautiful venue, and friendly faces. It was nearly impossible to narrow down the businesses being recognized this year but we were very pleased to award Old Town General Store, Absolute Gallery, Sweet Custom Jewelry, and Bradly’s HG. We’d also like to congratulate Carol Zwick, a long-time OTCA supporter, for being recognized as our Volunteer of the Year! The event could not have been possible without our dedicated board members, volunteers, and residents, our partnerships with incredible organizations, and our remarkable local businesses.

At the Annual Meeting, we released our 2023-2024 Impact Report from our coordinating program, Michigan Main Street – see a digital copy here. It’s impossible to capture the total footprint and all of the achievements of the Main Street program, but it’s an incredible snapshot of the district and its successes over the past year. If you’d like to get involved while we’re building up the statistics for the next report, let us know. We’d love to have you on the Old Town team!

Five recipients were awarded and recognized for

their efforts and contributions to the Old Town community!

Glimmer (Perspective) - Absolute Gallery

Volunteer of the Year - Carol Zwick

Radiance (Grown & Shone) - Sweet Custom Jewelry

Sparkle (Longevity) - Old Town General Store

Shining Star (Above & Beyond) - Bradly’s HG

Please welcome our new board members!

Curtis Simmons

David Such

Jamie Schriner

Mike Fischer

Rick Woods

Congratulations to our award recipients and newly elected board members! We’re happy you’re involved in our community and excited to see how we can grow together!

Celebrating Black History Month: Honoring Legacy, Inspiring Change

This February, we honor the rich contributions of Black voices, creators, and leaders. Let's delve into literature, art, and media crafted by Black artists, fostering a future where diversity is celebrated, and equality prevails. 

Acknowledging Black History Month's roots in 1926, we embrace its evolution into a month-long celebration of Black innovation and achievement. Beyond historical struggles, it's a time to spotlight Black leaders who've shaped global developments that merit emphasis.

This year’s theme, African Americans and the Arts, recognizes the profound influence in various cultural expressions. Originating as Negro History Week in 1926 (established by Carter G. Woodson, who also established the ASALH), Black History Month became official in 1976, dedicated to honoring the accomplishments of Black Americans across history. Woodson realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public. The intention has never been to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important culture.

Discover the legacies of ongoing missions of impactful nonprofits like the NAACP, ACLU Foundation, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the Association for the Study of American Life and History (ASALH). They have made historical contributions and continue impactful work today. Learn about their legacies and ongoing missions that you can support year-round.

Join us in fostering love for our communities, the people we serve, and the shared passion that unites us. Let Black History Month be a catalyst for lasting change and a celebration of the diverse contributions that shape our world.

As we navigate through the calendar of 2024, we have the delightful privilege of experiencing an extra day – it’s a Leap Year! This additional day in February brings with it a sense of novelty and opportunity, and at the OTCA, we’re excited to make the most of this rare occurrence.

Leap Into Action:

In the spirit of the leap year, let’s collectively leap into action and make a positive impact on our community. Whether it’s starting a new project, reaching out to a neighbor, or simply taking a leap outside of your comfort zone, let’s use this extra day to create moments of growth and connection.

Reflect and Reset:

Take this bonus day as an opportunity for reflection and resetting your goals. What leaps do you want to take in your personal and community life? Use this time to set intentions, embrace new challenges, and leap forward with a renewed sense of purpose.

Leap Year Fun Fact:

Did you know that leap years help align our calendar with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun?

Let’s make the most of this extra day, embracing the opportunities it brings and leaping forward into a year filled with growth, connection, and positive change.

Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 11-17, 2024) is run by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAKF) to help make kindness the norm. This week serves as a powerful reminder that even the smallest acts of kindness can create a ripple effect of positive change within our community.

Join us in the challenge to perform random acts of kindness throughout the week. Whether it’s offering a helping hand, sharing a kind word, or surprising someone with a thoughtful gesture, every act, no matter how small, contributes to building a culture of kindness.

Gladden Space stands as a dynamic art gallery and sanctuary for contemporary art, centrally located within Lansing’s lively cultural enclave in the historic Old Town neighborhood.

Join them on February 10, 2024 at 3pm for the opening of Mary Gillis: Studio Views!

This showing will be located at Gladden Space (204 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave.) until March 30, 2024. Don’t miss out!



                                                        Volunteer Opportunity: Lansing Winterfest

Lansing Winterfest, Lansing’s largest winter celebration, kicked off Saturday, February 3 from 11:00am - 3:00pm, and closes out with a fun Fire & Ice weekend celebration Saturday, February 24 from 5:00pm - 8:00pm. The events in your community can’t take place without the help of many volunteers and hands! We’d love your help by signing up to volunteer and promoting that volunteers are needed!

Sign up today or feel free to pass on the link to encourage others to volunteer! To sign-up to volunteer, click here.

Chocolate Walk is almost here. Join us this weekend, Saturday February 17, as we indulge in a decade of deliciousness here in Old Town!

For a sweet decade, we’ve been crafting memories one chocolate at a time, and this year, we’re turning the Old Town Chocolate Walk up a notch! Travel the neighborhood and collect Chocolates at each location!

Save the Date: Saturday, February 17, 12pm to 6pm

Tickets were limited to 250, and this event has officially sold out! Thank you all so much for your unwavering support for our community!

You get:

  • A custom box to fill with delectable chocolates
  • A punch card to track your chocolate conquest
  • A map guiding you to participating locations

But wait, there’s more than chocolate in the mix! This isn’t just a walk; it’s a fundraiser for the OTCA. Your chocolatey delights contribute to the continued revitalization of Lansing’s historic Old Town.

A special thank you to Cravings Gourmet Popcorn for sponsoring this event!

Don’t let this celebration melt away – join us for the sweetest stroll of the year!

Join us in Old Town Saturday, February 10 from 5pm - 8pm for Galentine’s Day! Bring your besties and stop at participating shops for fun, special treats and a chance to win prizes including gift cards to your favorite boutiques. One lucky gal will even win a fabulous gift basket filled with Old Town goodies!

FB Event

We need sponsors and vendors for our amazing Lumberjack Festival on April 6! Interested? Scan the QR code, reach out, and/or follow the link below to learn more.

Sponsors - Email lumberjackinfo@oldtownmainstreet.org

Vendors - Fill out this application.

We hope you’ll join us in putting together this spectacular event. Cheers!