A new Duluth business can help plan a date night, create a surprise birthday or proposal celebration, or make a fun, new environment to enjoy the outdoors with friends or family.
Events by Jam arranges luxury picnics for people to enjoy. Owner Jamie Anderson, of Duluth, said she saw the trend of pop-up picnics gain popularity on the West Coast and in Australia, and decided Minnesota needed the option.
“I saw that and was thinking that someone should do that in Minnesota, and it might as well be me,” Anderson said.
Anderson has several options for customers to choose from, starting with a do-it-yourself basket that picnickers can set up on their own, to a minimalistic setup with basic, durable place settings and decor, to a deluxe setup with larger furniture, more decor and fresh floral arrangements.
“I can do anything from as little as they want to as much as they want,” she said.
Depending on the client’s preferences, Anderson sets up the picnic before the clients arrive, and then returns when they leave to clean up. She has low tables and cushions for customers, plus decorations fit for various occasions.
Customers can choose from add-ons, including a puppy package with a dog bed, water bowl and treat, and games or paint activities. Anderson said one of the most popular features at her picnics are charcuterie boards; picnickers can bring the ingredients or she can supply them.
While Anderson doesn’t usually provide meals for the picnics, she can work with MidCoast Catering and is able to coordinate with other restaurants or bakeries in town. She has worked in Duluth’s service industry for 15 years and has connections with many restaurants. Plus, she has experience making sure customers receive what they asked for.
“Basically, since I turned 18, I’ve been serving and bartending in this town, so I feel very confident with providing that experience for people,” she said.
She also said knowing small touches that people may need for picnics, like tape for windy days, has made customers appreciate her attention to detail.
Kelly Evertz, of Duluth, went on a picnic with her boyfriend for their anniversary.
“Every detail was executed perfectly — from the gorgeous table setup to comfortable pillows for seating and blankets to cozy up with when it got chilly,” Evertz said. “My favorite part was the uniqueness of this experience combined with the privacy of enjoying a meal together without loud restaurants or crowds of people.”
Clients can choose anywhere to set up their picnic. Anderson said the most popular destinations are Park Point in Duluth and Black Beach in Silver Bay, but her favorite spot is Sister Cities Park on the Lakewalk.
Clients Nicolette Stroud and Miranda Carlos said they were impressed by the custom decor Anderson implemented in a surprise birthday party picnic.
“Her packages and stunning decor turned an ordinary space into a romantic, picturesque getaway,” Carlos said.
While the COVID-19 pandemic forced Anderson to create the business after being laid off, she also was excited to help people have safe and elevated outdoor dining experiences.
“The pandemic challenged me to take the plunge, but I’ve always had an interest in party and event planning,” she said. “Every time I’m setting one up, someone always comes up to me to tell me it’s so cool, which gives me an opportunity to spread the word a little bit.”
Since starting the business, Anderson has seen similar businesses start in the Twin Cities and Rochester. Anderson can be contacted through "Events by Jam MN" Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Anderson created Events by Jam in April, which was originally named "Picknicka MN" as a nod to the state’s Scandinavian heritage by using the Swedish verb for "picnic" in the name. She changed the business' name in August after learning the name may have had racist connotations.
This story was updated at 10:45 a.m. Aug. 13 with the new name of the business. It was originally posted at 8 a.m. Aug. 7.