The holiday season is here and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) is looking for Indiana’s Best Christmas Tree Farm and Indiana’s Best Local Toy or Hobby Store. The Best of Indiana Winter Awards voting commences online today. In addition to announcing the winter voting categories, IOTD is also offering a special discount on all merchandise purchased at VisitIndianaStore.com, the official online retailer of Visit Indiana.
Indiana is fortunate to have many locally owned toy and hobby stores, and Small Business Saturday isn’t the only day to support these shops. Whether it is the hot new video game, a challenging puzzle, an intricate model airplane or even a Red Ryder BB gun, these toy and hobby stores are great places to find special gifts for the holidays. Generations of Hoosiers have received memorable holiday gifts from these venerable institutions and IOTD wants to know what Hoosiers’ favorite shop is to find their perfect holiday present.
And what better place to put gifts purchased from local toy and hobby stores than underneath a freshly-cut Christmas tree from an Indiana Christmas tree farm? The aroma of a real tree is an indelible component of the holiday season. There are over 50 Christmas tree farms in Indiana, each offering unique tree-selecting experiences to build family memories; from wagon, train and hay rides to having your new tree delivered on a dog-pulled sleigh. Long-lasting memories are created on these family day trips to the Christmas tree farm and we are asking voters to tell us which farm is the Best of Indiana.
“These two categories are all about family and tradition in Indiana,” said Mark Newman, executive director of IOTD. “For many, cutting down the family Christmas tree is a yearly event at one of our great local farms throughout the state. Also, while gift giving happens year round, it takes on special meaning during the holidays. The Best Local Toy or Hobby Store category gives voters the chance to bring additional attention to local Indiana shops that have continued to stand the test of time.”
Additionally, and just in time for Christmas, IOTD is also offering a 20% discount on apparel and merchandise purchased at VisitIndianaStore.com, the official online retailer of IOTD. The discount is good through the end of December. The online store has an inventory of great gifts for those wanting to show off their Indiana pride. Shoppers can enter the sale code HOLIDAY20 at checkout to receive the discount.
Nominees for both categories were recommended by members of Indiana’s travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Voters can select up to 5 nominees in each category. Travelers can access winter trip ideas at VisitIndiana.com, the official state travel website where discounts, trip ideas and helpful tips are easily accessible.
Tourism is big business in Indiana. The tourism and hospitality industry is the sixth largest industry in the state (excluding government), is directly responsible for nearly 140,000 jobs, generates over $2.1 billion in tax receipts and contributes $10 billion in revenue to Indiana businesses.
Indiana Office of Tourism Development