The U.S. Travel Association announced the recipients of its 2017 Mercury Awards during the 34th annual ESTO conference, held in Minneapolis and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) was awarded best Public Relations Campaign for the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay.

The Mercury Awards recognize U.S. Travel Association members for excellence and creative accomplishment in state destination marketing and promotional programs. One of the judges commented about the torch relay, “This idea was executed superbly. The idea of uniting the entire state and bringing together citizens of every age, race and background to carry a physical object throughout the state is interesting enough, but the partnerships and execution really elevated this campaign.”

“The torch relay was a great opportunity to promote and unify the state by connecting people, communities, and regions,” said Mark Newman, IOTD’s Executive Director. “This award is a tremendous honor. The effort, dedication, and teamwork that went into more than three years of planning was worth the journey.”

The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay, developed by IOTD, was one of the major commemorative events of the 2016 Bicentennial celebration. It was designed to inspire and unify Hoosiers by symbolically “passing the torch” connecting generations to ignite our future. The 37-day relay traveled more than 3,200 miles through all 92 Indiana counties.IOTD is also being honored by the Indiana Historical Society for the Bicentennial Torch Relay. It was chosen as one of the winners in the Outstanding Bicentennial Collaborative Project category. A ceremony will be held in November.

During the five week relay, undergraduate and graduate students from Ball State University worked with IOTD to produce daily videos, photos, articles, and social media related to the relay.  A second team operated out of Muncie and produced a 37-minute documentary titled, “Everlasting Light: The Story of Indiana’s Bicentennial Torch Relay.” Ball State students have received twelve awards for their work on the project.

You can purchase a DVD of the documentary here.