2015 Visitor Profile Study Findings Released

A visitor profile study was conducted in Kokomo/Howard County earlier this year.  The 2015 study found that most travelers visit Howard County to see family and friends, attend local festivals and events, or conduct business or corporate travel and stay for a short trip; and that the community ranks highly with visitors for hospitality, safety, family-friendliness, and affordability.

Artist Alley

Artist Alley in Downtown Kokomo

The study was completed by Certec, Inc., a Lexington, Kentucky-based firm specializing in destination research and market analysis, and found that over one-third of Howard County visitors come to the community to see family and friends, while another 28 percent visit the area to enjoy local events or attractions.

Sixty-two percent of those surveyed say they visit Kokomo for a short trip lasting 1 to 3 days. The findings are also good news for the local economy: in addition to visiting friends and relatives, visitors listed shopping, dining, and attending area sporting and entertainment events as top activities during their stays in Howard County.

Kokomo Municipal Stadium

Kokomo Municipal Stadium

Furthermore, over 85 percent of those surveyed stated that they are either “completely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their tourism experiences in Howard County; in fact, less than 1 percent were not at all satisfied with their experiences.

Other key findings from the report:

  • Primary markets for Kokomo visitor travel were Indiana (non-Howard County), Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan
  • Typical visitor party includes 3 people who stay for an average of 2.4 days
  • Popular attractions for visitors include Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center, Seiberling Mansion, Elwood Haynes Museum, Kokomo Opalescent Glass, and Kokomo Automotive Museum
  • Overall, visitors averaged 4 trips to Howard County in the past 2 years
  • Nearly 87% of visitors say they are likely to return to Howard County in the next 2 years

Learn more about our recent visitor profile study here.

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Kokomo Automotive Museum hosting part of “Hoosier Made: World Driven” event

Hoosier Made World Driven brochure cover

The Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum is hosting part of “Hoosier Made: World Driven,” a three museum event to celebrate Indiana’s automotive heritage. The event, which is a Legacy Project by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, is underway and runs until Oct. 3, 2016.

“Hoosier Made: World Driven” examines the heyday of Indiana’s automobile industry when some of the world’s finest motorcars were built in the Hoosier state. The exhibit will be presented at Indiana’s three leading transportation museums: The Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum, the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn.

The Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum display will feature five different Haynes and Apperson touring vehicles. The museum is home to more than 100 antique automobiles and offers visitors a glimpse of the nation’s automotive history, with an emphasis on local automotive history.

“This event shines a light on our museum and how it represents our local automotive heritage,” said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight. “It showcases the role Kokomo played in the development of the American automobile, and our city’s central role in the Indiana economy.”

Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum director of development Jeff Shively said the event presents a great opportunity.

“This is the perfect chance to see three great museums, travel, and learn about Indiana’s automotive heritage,” Shively said. “And you can save money while doing it.”

Visitors can visit all three museums for the price of two. A passport (available at all three museums) can be stamped at two museums and admission to the third museum for free. Admission to the Kokomo Automotive Heritage Museum is $5.

The Kokomo Automotive Museum is located at 1500 North Reed Road (S.R. 931) and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, call 765.454.9999.

 

Explore Kokomo’s Holiday Light Displays

WeCarePark

Several Kokomo holiday light displays will open starting on Thanksgiving weekend. A great activity to do with friends, family, and kids!

We Care Park lighting ceremony starts at 5:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. The lights will stay on nightly from 5:30-9:30 p.m. through December 27, 2015. Street parking is available to walk through the park or stay in your car and drive through to enjoy over 1,000,000 twinkling lights! We Care Park is located at the corner of Gano and Lafountain Streets (on the northside of Kokomo.)

Highland Park’s “City of Lights” will come alive on Thanksgiving night with nearly 50 holiday light displays. Lights will remain on nightly at dusk through the end of the year.  You can also see Santa at Highland Park until December 24. Another fun holiday tradition!

Christmas at the Seiberling” starts Saturday, November 28, 2015 with a lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. followed by music, visits with Santa, and of course, tours of the stunning (and magnificently decorated) Seiberling Mansion. See thousands of lights and dozens of Christmas trees! Visitors 12 and younger can compete for a prize in the “Count the Trees” contest! “Christmas at the Seiberling” continues through December 31.

Downtown Kokomo’s Lighting Ceremony of the Courthouse Square starts Friday, December 4, 2015 (during FIRST FRIDAY!)  Stroll through the downtown district from 5:30-9:00 p.m. to see holiday lights and local businesses competing in the window decorating contest. Kids can visit with Santa, carriage rides will be available, and local businesses will be open for holiday shopping!

In this busy season of shopping, baking, and holiday errands, take some time to relax and enjoy the lights!

J. Edwards Gourmet & Blondie’s Cookies featured on FOX 59 Hoosier Treats Segment

Fill your table with local foods and treats this holiday season!

Kokomo’s own J. Edwards Gourmet and Blondie’s Cookies were featured last week by Visit Indiana on FOX 59. With Thanksgiving and the holidays right around the corner, the segment highlighted delicious, Indiana made food products perfect for the holiday table. View the segment here.

J. Edwards Gourmet, a local favorite since 2003, specializes in fine chocolates (regular and sugar-free), beautiful gourmet cakes, and housemade cheese dips and spreads.

Here is a sampling of the items you can purchase for your holiday table:

Spinach Artichoke Cheese Dip – A gourmet classic! This 5-cheese blend is packed with spinach, roasted red peppers, and hearty artichoke hearts.

Baby Swiss Cheese Dip – Smooth and savory dip. Garlic, chives, and other spices are paired with this delicious 4-cheese blend.

California Cheese Spread – This one will make your California dreams come true! A 3-cheese cheddar garlic blend that goes perfect with any cracker, pretzel, or baked potato.

cheese dips

Cheese Pinwheel – Can’t decide on which cheese dip is the best to suit your family get together? Satisfy everyone’s taste buds with the Pinwheel, a 4-compartment tray that features all four homemade cheeses.

Cheeseball – A gourmet double chipped beef cheeseball packed with flavor (garlic, chives, and other spices) then rolled in toasted pecan pieces. Sure to satisfy any savory palate!

Spicy Pretzel Balls – A blend of special gourmet spices coated over crunchy pretzel balls, is sure to be a big hit.

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake – A smooth and creamy cheesecake, with all of the pumpkin spice you can handle! A great way to get your pumpkin fix.

Red Velvet Cheesecake – A bold and creamy combination, this is a red velvet flavored creamy cheesecake topped with J. Edwards’s signature chocolate ganache.

Gourmet Apple – A granny smith apple covered in caramel, rolled in toasted pecans, and then dipped & drizzled in chocolate. Perfect for gifts, celebrations, or devouring the whole thing!

JEdwards Chocolates 2.jpg

 

J. Edwards Gourmet’s homemade fine chocolates are perfect for the holidays – for the dessert table or to give as gifts! Their selection includes caramels, assorted creams, turtles, toffee, and much more.

Orders can be placed on their website at jedwardsgourmet.com or by calling (765) 626-0142.  They also offer a large variety of other unique gifts, gourmet cakes and specialty food products, as well as gluten free items.

Blondie’s Cookies is celebrating 30 years as a locally owned business specializing in freshly baked, handcrafted cookies.  Don’t have time to bake cookies this holiday season? Blondie’s has you covered!

Selections include cookies, brownies, chewies, sprinkles, cookie cakes, party trays, gift tins, gift boxes and towers. They even have take & bake cookie kits (perfect for baking with kids!) and unique items, like Snickers cookies, cheesecake brownies, and peppermint sprinkle cookies.

blondies cookies photo

Consider these indulgent cookies for your holiday table:

Pumpkin Spice Sprinkle cookies – Moist, soft pumpkin shortbread cookie topped with extra creamy cream cheese frosting. Its creamy like a pumpkin pie, moist like a pumpkin bread and oh so decadent like a pumpkin trifle, all wrapped up in a cookie!

KoKo Swirl Sprinkle and KoKo Kream Sprinkle  – The KoKo Sprinkle line is a dark chocolate shortbread cookie topped with dark chocolate ganache frosting or their famous vanilla buttercream icing. KoKo Swirls are soft and very creamy, and may even take the place of your favorite chocolate cake!

To place an order, visit blondiescookies.com or call 1-888-298-6820.

Happy eating this holiday season!

Christmas at the Seiberling: A Kokomo Holiday Tradition

Christmas at the Seiberling outdoor photo

There is a “TREEmendous Christmas” coming to the Seiberling Mansion, and the holiday celebration begins on November 28th.

The Victorian elegance of the Seiberling Mansion is a perfect setting for a stunning collection of holiday trees, wreaths and garlands, and more.

The Seiberling will be closed from November 14-28, 2015 to let the decorators do their magic. In the meantime, you can purchase advance tickets and make plans to start the holidays with your family at the Seiberling Lighting Ceremony on November 28th, sponsored by The Wyman Group.

Witness the official arrival of Santa and join the countdown to 6:00 pm, when the glorious display of outdoor lights is illuminated. After the lighting, enjoy live music from the Kokomo Men of Note and the Kokomo Brass.

Christmas at the Seiberling fireplace

Inside the Seiberling, you’ll tour a vision of holiday beauty. Get some ideas for your tree, and marvel at the dozens of trees in twenty rooms on all three floors of the mansion. Vote for your favorite tree and help pick the People’s Choice. Visit the Elliott House to warm up with cookies and wassail and give the kids and grandkids a chance to chat with Santa. Take a picture with Santa and make some memories – but be sure to bring your camera!

Opening night tickets are available in advance for $7.00 or at the door for $10.00. Kids 12 and under are $3.00 and Howard County Historical Society members are free. Purchase advance tickets online at howardcountymuseum.org.

Christmas at the Seiberling staircase

Along with your tour, you can schedule a carriage ride through the Old Silk Stocking District. Reservations are required by calling 765.452.4314. The price is $50 and includes up to six people. Make it a romantic trip for two – or a great memory for the kids and grandkids. Schedule your ride for November 28th between 6:00 and 9:00 pm, following the lighting ceremony.

Christmas at the Seiberling tours will continue through December 31, 2015 from 1-4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (closed Dec. 24-26.) Group tours can be scheduled by appointment.

Thanks to local sponsors, the Seiberling will also be open for special evening hours (and FREE admission) from 4-8 p.m. only on the following dates: December 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18, 2015.

The Seiberling Mansion and Elliott House are located in the 1200 block of West Sycamore Street in Kokomo. Parking lots are accessible via Walnut Street, behind the mansion. For more information, call 765.452.4314 or visit their website and Facebook page.

Annual We Care Trim-A-Tree Festival now open at Markland Mall

2015 Trim A Tree Festival

The holiday season is quickly approaching! What a better way to get in the holiday spirit than a visit to the 23rd Annual We Care Trim-A-Tree Festival, currently underway now through November 15, 2015 at Markland Mall.

Dozens of beautifully decorated Christmas trees and wreaths are lined throughout the mall and can be seen Monday -Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 12-6 p.m. The tree auction will be held November 15 at 5:00 p.m., with all proceeds going to We Care. Markland Mall is located at the corner of SR 931 and Markland Avenue in Kokomo.

Fall Trip Idea: Art Glass Getaway in Kokomo!

Looking for trip ideas this fall?  Check out amazing art glass tours, demonstrations, exhibits, and unique glass gifts in Kokomo/Howard County.

Experience art on fire at Kokomo Opalescent Glass, America's oldest art glass company.

Experience art on fire at Kokomo Opalescent Glass, America’s oldest art glass company.

Experience true “art on fire” at Kokomo Opalescent Glass (KOG), America’s oldest art glass company in business since 1888.  Public factory tours are offered Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m.  Can’t come during the week? Check out special Saturday tours only on Saturday, October 17, 2015 with continuous tours from 9:00 a.m. – Noon.

Take the tour to go behind the scenes at Kokomo Opalescent Glass.

Take the tour to go behind the scenes at Kokomo Opalescent Glass.

Feel the heat of molten glass ladled from the 12-pot furnace.  Over 22,000 variations of sheet glass are produced at KOG and shipped worldwide. Also watch amazing glass blowing demonstrations by local artisans and glass beadmaking demonstrations.

Find unique glass items at The OP Shop, open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-1pm.

Find unique glass items at The OP Shop, open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-1pm.

Visit The OP Shop (located at Kokomo Opalescent Glass) and Crystal Wand Creations in downtown Kokomo for stunning, handmade glass items made by local glass artists, great for giving as holiday gifts!  While in downtown, enjoy lunch or dinner at one of many locally-owned restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops or visit unique shops and art galleries.

See over 2,000 pieces of glass on display at the Greentown Glass Museum.

See over 2,000 pieces of glass on display at the Greentown Glass Museum.

See beautiful exhibits of highly-collectible Greentown and Jenkins glass at the Greentown Glass Museum and Seiberling Mansion, along with multiple stained glass windows and other local history and glass-related exhibits.

Learn more about local history and Indiana's gas boom at the Seiberling Mansion.

Learn more about local history and Indiana’s gas boom at the Seiberling Mansion.

To plan a unique glass getaway this fall or for more information, contact the Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau at 800-837-0971 or visit http://www.VisitKokomo.org.