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Experience the LOVE of Virginia

Giant LOVE artwork to appear in Natural Bridge Corn Maze September 29

-Natural Bridge to be part of Virginia is for Lovers social media marketing campaign-

Richmond, Va. (September 27, 2012) - Love is popping up all over Virginia in many different and unexpected places as part of a state tourism campaign to share the message that love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.  Giant LOVE artworks have appeared across Virginia, creating a social media phenomenon and inviting more families to visit Virginia. 

Starting September 29, Natural Bridge will be the latest LOVE destination with the creation of a giant corn maze that will spell LOVE.  The LOVE corn maze, 200 feet wide and 130 feet tall, is part of the Virginia is for Lovers campaign and promotes the message that love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.  The Natural Bridge corn maze opens September 29 and will be open through October 28 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at U.S. 11 and Golf Course Road, just south of the Natural Bridge Hotel, at U.S. 11 and 130.

Visitors are encouraged to visit the Natural Bridge LOVE artwork, take a picture and post to www.Facebook.com/VirginiaisforLovers or on Twitter and use the hashtag #LOVEVA.

With a scorecard in hand, visitors search the maze for LOVE artwork and hidden scarecrows for a chance to win prizes: a 2-night Natural Bridge getaway for a family of four, family 4-packs of Natural Bridge & Caverns admission tickets, and annual passes. The corn maze is $4, ages 3-12, and $7; admission also includes a hayride, corn kernel sand box, hay bale slide, and beanbag toss.  Tickets can be purchased at www.NaturalBridgeVA.com, in The Natural Bridge entrance building at U.S. 11 and 130, or with cash only at the corn maze entrance.  The Natural Bridge, a National Historic Landmark and natural wonder around the bend from the maze, offers family hotel package and ticket discounts on its website.  The LOVE Corn Maze at Natural Bridge is off I-81, exits 175 and 180, and off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The LOVE artwork made stops at Virginia Welcome Centers, attractions and localities throughout 2011 and travels to more locations in the Commonwealth in 2012; instead of free standing artwork, The Natural Bridge staff carved the word into the maze design. LOVE artwork has become a favorite photo opportunity for visitors as well as local residents wherever it has gone. Photos taken by people from across the country can be seen on the Facebook and Twitter pages.  A complete list of LOVE artwork locations across the state can be found at www.Virginia.org/LOVE

"Our iconic Virginia is for Lovers brand is about love - pure and simple, and has been for more than 40 years," said Rita McClenny, interim president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. "We are excited to share the LOVE at locations throughout the Commonwealth where so many people can enjoy being a part of it. It reminds us that Virginia is an ideal destination for families looking to completely connect on a Virginia vacation."

Adds Jean Clark, Lexington & Rockbridge Area's Director of Tourism, "thanks to Thomas Jefferson's love for and commitment to preserving his natural bridge and sharing it with the world, The Natural Bridge is Virginia's earliest family friendly destination and a perfect place for the LOVE corn maze.  We appreciate being chosen to host it, and we hope everyone has fun and leaves with great memories and photos."

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia.  In 2011, tourism generated $20.4 billion in revenue, supported 207,000 jobs and generated $1.32 billion in state and local taxes.

"In Rockbridge County our tourism revenues and hiring numbers remain on the rise due in part to increased marketing and partnership efforts - locally, regionally, and statewide.

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Visit www.Virginia.org to learn more or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a free, Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.

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Note to media: Images of the LOVE artwork are available for publication at www.vatravelstories.com, the official pressroom of the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

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