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The Elizabethtown-Hardin County Chamber of Commerce once again is offering the public a chance to deck the halls with a special ornament.
Since 1991, the chamber has offered Christmas ornaments featuring area landmarks. This year marks the 20th edition of the item, and the ornament design commemorates the “Thank You From the Heartand: A Salute to Vietnam Veterans” theme that was incorporated into the annual Heartland Festival.
“It’s kind of a culmination piece of this past year,” said Rik Hawkins, chamber president and CEO.
Hawkins said the ornament is a way for people to remember the sacrifices of those who served. The ornament also is a collector’s item for future generations, he said.
The gold ornament is double-sided, meaning it has text and graphics on the front and back. That was not the case with ornaments in previous years.
“That’s why it’s a little bit more,” Helen Miles, chamber receptionist/programs coordinator, said, explaining the higher price this year.
The 2010 ornament costs $9.99 with tax and can be purchased at the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Chamber of Commerce at 111 W. Dixie Ave. in downtown Elizabethtown.
Ornaments from previous years are available for $6.89 with tax. Each ornament features a different Hardin County landmark.
“It started in 1991,” Miles said. “Brown-Pusey House was the first.”
Bethlehem Academy, Summit one-room schoolhouse, Fort Duffield, Rineyville school and the Historic State Theater are among the landmarks depicted on the ornaments. A full set of 20 ornaments can be purchased for $140.90.
The Hardin County themes of the ornaments also provide a bit of nostalgia for their owners, Miles said.
“So if they move somewhere else they can have memories of Hardin County,” she said.
Often, those purchasing the ornaments buy more than one, to give away as presents, Miles said. The biggest order has been somewhere between 15 and 20, she said.
This year’s ornament has been popular, she said.
“We put these out during the Heartland Festival,” Miles said.
The chamber sold out of its original supply of 300 of the 2010 ornaments and ordered another shipment of 150. That shipment arrived Thursday.
With the success of the theme of this year’s Heartland Festival, the design of the 2010 ornament seemed like a good choice to continue “to recognize those who put their lives in harm’s way,” Hawkins said.
“You know that you hit the mark when, months later, people are still talking about it,” he said.
Themes for the Christmas ornaments usually are chosen by June, Miles said.
“There’s a committee that gets together and decides what it’s going to be,” she said.
For the chamber president, the 2010 ornament represents coming full circle from last year when he began working on the “Thank You From the Heartand: A Salute to Vietnam Veterans” events.
“It was a wonderful year,” Hawkins said.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or at email@example.com