Site Links Hoosiers to Bicentennial Bling

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As Indiana prepares to celebrate its 200th birthday, a web-based store has launched to connect small businesses with Hoosiers who want to show their Bicentennial pride. The Bicentennial Marketplace showcases Indiana-made products - from shirts and handbags to jewelry and art pieces - and serves as a link between small businesses and consumers, free of charge. "So many people want a memento of this event," says Perry Hammock, executive director of the Bicentennial Commission. "It's our way of trying to help small business and also help Hoosiers who want to have something special to remember this day by."

Hammock, who was a guest on Inside INdiana Business Television, says while the site just launched, more than 100 home-grown products are already featured.

In the coming weeks, officials and dignitaries will be touring the state promoting the online portal, including a visit by First Lady Karen Pence to Murray's Jewelers in Muncie, a fifth generation retailer producing a variety of Bicentennial pieces.

"The big thing about the Bicentennial we were concerned with was that it be celebrated across the state and that people find their own unique ways to be part of it," said Hammock, who notes the commission has just received its 1000th Legacy Project. "We have projects in every county and hundreds of towns across Indiana, from nature and conversation to youth and education to community involvement, a number of ways that people can be part of the Bicentennial spirit."

The year-long Indiana Bicentennial Celebration officially kicked off December 10 and will include hundreds of events, including a 92-county torch relay, covering 2,300 miles. The relay begins September 9 in Corydon and ends October 15 on the grounds of the Indiana Statehouse.

The state's big birthday bash will conclude with a gala featuring Indiana food, drink and entertainment December 10 at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum.

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