The festivities of the 50th anniversary commence on Friday, June 21, and last through August 10. The theme – LOVE.

“Virginia is for Lovers” was a revolutionary, genius marketing idea which has stood the test of time – 50 years, in fact! Therefore, for 50 consecutive days, there are excellent experiences and celebrations planned in cities and counties across the state. It is a celebration of “50 Years of LOVE.”  

LOVE Vibe District Virginia Beach Virginia is for Lovers 50th Anniversary

The VIBE District in Virginia Beach (Courtesy of Instagram)

The Governor of Virginia has proclaimed June 21, 2019, as "Virginia Is for Lovers Day" in recognition of this date being the 50th anniversary. 

"…Virginia’s rich history, charming small towns, booming culinary scene, beautiful mountain vistas, and warm, sunny beaches have positioned the Commonwealth to be a premier travel destination in the United States. As we look ahead to the next 50 years, we invite visitors from across the country and around the world to discover for themselves why Virginia is for Lovers.”

The Governor of Virginia

The slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers” was created 50 years ago, in 1969. While it has various meanings to different people, one remains the same – love. It represents a love of life, history, and travel, all of which can be experienced in Virginia; after all, it is a state of contrast.

  

In the late 1960s, Virginia needed a bit of rebranding. Actually, it needed a whole identity makeover since it wasn’t a "cool state" like California, nor did it have the excitement and lights of the streets of New York City. It's where the first colonists settled and is often referred to as the "Mother of States." And because Virginia is located below the Mason-Dixon line, it was technically considered the South. Virginia seemed old, stuffy, and not a place for change or revolution – not even a destination of the times.

In 1968, the Richmond firm of Martin and Woltz, now known as The Martin Agency, pitched and won an account by the Virginia State Travel Service, now known as the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), to come up with ads to show off the positive aspects of Virginia, the beaches, the history, the mountains, the exciting side that had been hidden under a lack of awareness.  In 1969, the provocative "Virginia is for Lovers" slogan and the first ad campaign that used it appeared in an issue of Modern Bride. Think about the show Mad Men, and imagine the atmosphere of an advertising agency at the time the slogan was created!

Virginia is for Lovers Modern Bride 1969

The 1st Virginia is for Lovers ad Modern Bride Magazine 1969 (Courtesy of RVA News)

It was a success! The “Virginia is for Lovers” campaign pioneered the way destination branding was used. In 2009, “Virginia is For Lovers” was selected by Forbes.com as one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all time. The slogan was also inducted into the National Advertising Hall of Fame on Madison Avenue in New York. Songs have been written either referencing or using the slogan, such as Jordin Sparks' "Virginia is for Lovers," released in 2007.

What You Can Do to Celebrate the 50th Birthday of "Virginia is for Lovers":

Since it’s the 50th anniversary, the year was 1969, and the theme is LOVE, I believe there are going to be a lot of fun and retro offerings. I have already seen where breweries are offering Love Lagers, wineries are offering Lovers Blends, and restaurants are offering 1969-inspired food.

There are love events, festivals … there is something for everyone in all parts of the state. This could be quite a fun time to pack up and hit the road on a LOVE adventure. Below are several suggestions to get you going:

LOVE Regions: 

LOVEwork Map Virgnia is For Lovers 50th Anniversary

LOVEwork locations (Courtesy of Virginia.org)

LOVE Trip Ideas: 

There are so many folks with different itineraries that are all mapped out. The places to see, stay, and eat, and play – all within the spirit of LOVE. Click here (LOVE trip ideas) for some awesome ideas to build your own trip!

However, I am featuring Marc and Julie Bennett, 24/7 RV travelers, who live and work full-time on the road. They have a detailed five-day RV vacation planned. Their daily itinerary specifies places to eat and play while traveling in an RV. I cannot wait to see the photos from their "LOVE in an RV trip"!

Marc and Julie Bennett RVLove Virginia is For Lovers 50th Anniversary

Courtesy of RVLove.com 

Can't plan a road trip but still want to get in on the fun?

Check out these LOVE specials on food and drinks around the state! Also, here's a collection of LOVE events, as well as some LOVE deals.

Do you plan on taking a LOVEtour around the state of Virginia or just a quick pop-over to a nearby event or restaurant offering a deal? If you do, please post your photos with the rest of the community on social media with the hashtag #ocn. I cannot wait to see and share in your adventures!