The popular “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan turns 50 this year.

To honor the anniversary, the Virginia Tourism Corporation unveiled a special 3D LOVE artwork created by artist Melanie Stimmell Van Latum in Richmond on Thursday.

The artwork will be traveling to “50 Years of Love” events at Virginia Welcome Centers throughout the summer where travelers can take their photos with it.

“Virginia is For Lovers has become one of the most beloved and well-known travel slogans in the world,” Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corp., said in a statement.

In 1969, the Virginia is for Lovers slogan was created by the Richmond-based advertising agency Martin & Woltz Inc., now known now as The Martin Agency. “Virginia is for Lovers” made its first appearance in a 1969 issue of Modern Bride.

Since the slogan debuted, it has become recognized around the world.

It was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame on Sept. 21, 2009, and was included in the Advertising Icon Museum alongside fellow 2009 inductees the AOL Running Man, the Budweiser Clydesdales, and State Farm’s “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There.”

Forbes.com named “Virginia is for Lovers” as one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all time.

Virginia Tourism Corp. also announced “50 Years of Love” events that will be held throughout the state during the summer.

For example, on Sunday, June 23, Final Gravity Brewing Co. and Cap Trail Bike Shuttle will sponsor a “50 Years of Love” 50-mile bike ride on the Virginia Capital Trail, with return transportation provided by the Cap Trail Bike Shuttle.

Other events will be held at breweries, wineries and parks throughout the state this summer. To learn more, go to virginia.org/50yearsoflove.

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