ICTB 60th Anniversary Celebration

On Thursday, June 8, 2023, we celebrated our 60th anniversary at the Indiana County Jimmy Stewart Airport in the Innovative Aviation Hangar!

The Indiana County Tourist Bureau has a long a legacy of leaders, contributors, members and community who have given their time & talents over the past 60 years.  We have them to thank for being able to celebrate this special milestone.  Thank you to so many from the Indiana County community for contributing to making our anniversary celebration a success.


The evening was documented through beautiful photography by Kris Mellinger – Photos by Miss Kris and Anthony Frazier.
View an album by Kris here and an album by Anthony here.


The evening social time included a chance for those in attendance to mingle and reminisce with others in the tourism industry.


Providing delightful ambient music was Wave Ryder DJ Services with the tunes of “Decades Music”.

The Innovative Aviation Hangar (thank you for granting us space for the party, Brad Kratz!) was beautifully decorated thanks to the generosity of Julie Silvis of Indiana Floral/Flower Boutique.


On display for touring was “The Luck of the Irish” – A C-47 B Skytrain is a plane that was used in WWII, which flew in from Air Heritage Aviation Museum.


And of course, what’s an anniversary celebration without food?  Special thanks for the dynamic team of Mary Beth Akbay and Samantha Walker of Romeo’s Pizzeria & Mediterranean Kitchen for their assistance with the prep and planning of the evenings menu. Guests enjoyed a “Taste of Indiana County” featuring delicious delectables from local restaurants!

Food contributions courtesy of:
Riziki Café
The Coney
The Road Side (sponsored by Kenly Insurance)
Valley Dairy

Additional food served this evening included items from:
 9th St. Deli
Cunningham Meats
GG’s Gourmet Café
Romeo’s Pizzeria & Mediterranean Kitchen
Spaghetti Benders
Venice Café & Pizzeria
Commonplace Coffee

Wine sampling was provided by Don Bishop and Twisted Vine Winery at the 700 Shop.


Commemorating this anniversary was a Certificate of Congratulations, compliments of Representative Jim Struzzi and Senator Joe Pittman (not pictured) as well as a Certificate of Recognition from Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (presented by Field Representative: Andrea Verobish) and a Proclamation from Indiana County Commissioners Mike Keith, Robin Gorman and Sherene Hess (not pictured).



The evening also included the presentation of the Pioneer Award.
Award Recipient:  Silas C. Streams (b. 1884 – d. 1963)
The award was presented to the family of Mr. Streams in honor of Si’s  innovation as the first Christmas tree grower in Indiana County.
A beautiful reflection was shared by Si’s great-niece, Nancy Kwisnek.

Pictured:  ICTB Executive Director Laura Herrington, Bill Streams, Nancy Kwisnek, Bob Streams and Jean Silliman.

Here’s a little history about Silas C. Streams….

The process of growing Christmas trees as an agricultural crop began in 1918 in Indiana County when Mr. Silas C. Streams first planted Norway Spruce trees to be sold during the Christmas season. History has it that as early as 1906, a “man from the east” was advocating to Judge Elkin and Matthew Streams (father of Silas “Si” C. Streams) the planting of pines. They were very reluctant to turn “good farmland” into pine productions, but Si capitalized on this opportunity and received permission to plant one thousand seedlings. None of them were cut and most are still growing, now 50 feet and more in height. In 1918, Si Streams started planting regularly. By 1926, Si started selling Christmas trees at .40 to .50 cents each, one good and three bad per bundle. Gradually, other pioneers started plantations, including: Murray C. Stewart, Sam Dible, Walter Schroth and Fred Musser.

The Christmas tree farming industry experienced significant growth following World War II. In 1956, when the Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers’ Association was organized, an estimated 700,000 trees were cut in Indiana County and sometime during this period, Indiana began to be touted as “The Christmas Tree Capital of the World”, according to an Associated Press Dispatch. “Other states may produce more, but we were the first. Some of Silas Streams’ trees continue to grow on farms that he once owned in the Five Points area,” said Gregg Van Horn, President of the Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers’ Association.

In keeping with the spirit of new ideas and concepts, the Pioneer Award was created to honor innovators in our county’s tourism history. The inspiration for this year’s award recipient came about by reflecting on his contribution for the county’s designation as “The Christmas Tree Capital of the World”. The Pioneer Award is being presented to Silas C. Streams for his innovation and involvement in starting the Christmas tree industry. Si’s advocacy and determination for planting trees, as well as selling them, opened the door for other pioneers to grow the industry.  Learn more about “The Christmas Tree Capital of the World”.


The evening concluded with numerous giveaways distributed to lucky drawing winners!


The evening would not have been made possible without the dedication and hard work of ICTB’s Board of Directors and Staff.

(Pictured left to right:  Sam Kenley, Mark Hilliard, Cindy Rogers, Commissioner Robin Gorman, Lori Lundberg, Gregg Van Horn, Jacquie Hathaway, Rick Fuellner, Niel Stiteler, Debbie Isenberg, Jen Buckles, Val Balogh, Tony Greenawalt and Commissioner Mike Keith.  On Stage – Laura Herrington)

Gregg Van Horn – President
Jacquelyn Hathaway – Vice President
Larissa Csanyi – Secretary
Lori Lundberg – Treasurer
Rick Fuellner – Member at Large

Mark Hilliard
Angela Kellar
Sam Kenly
Daniel Lashinsky
Sam Phillips
Cindy Rogers
Dr. Stephen Shiring
Niel Stiteler
Commissioner Robin Gorman

Executive Director – Laura Herrington
Graphic Artist/Office Coordinator – Jen Buckles
Tourism Associate/Membership Coordinator – Debbie Isenberg
Financial Associate – Valerie Balogh
Brochure Distribution – Tony Greenawalt

Rick Fuellner
Commissioner Robin Gorman
Jacquelyn Hathaway
Staff of ICTB
Gregg Van Horn



To embrace the future deserves a look back to appreciate the past.  How fortunate Indiana County is to be positioned by the efforts and accomplishments of so many who came before us. During the 60 Year Diamond Jubilee Anniversary of the Indiana County Tourist Bureau, we salute and pay tribute to all of the past and current board of directors, executive directors, staff, legislators, elected officials and community partners who served passionately in promoting our region’s character, beauty and attractions. They have helped those who live here appreciate where they live and to never want to be anywhere else. It is that special character that causes our visitors to have a unique experience and feeling when they are here and many want to come back and stay.

Goals of the past and present, passionate and innovative tourism leaders, have captured the combination of Indiana’s historical charm. They have capitalized on the current state of the art innovations of its time to coordinate experiences for those who live here and call Indiana County our home and to introduce visitors to all we know it has to offer.

Indiana County is a place rich in architectural resources and unique historic communities. By the early 1900s, the pace and scale of coal mining dominated the county. This activity spurred a building boom that resulted in the development of many coal towns and villages that remain a distinctive element of the region’s landscape today. Our traditional downtowns, interspersed with farms and villages, evolved when development was compact and high density. Buildings were close together and people could walk to places of work, school, worship, shopping and other services. This historic development pattern created a sense of connectedness and fostered the formation of social networks that added to the strength of our communities. Historically, our downtowns have been centers for government, business, shopping, cultural and spiritual activities.

Indiana County is a rural area comprised of rolling hills and vast natural and abundant resources such as beautiful streams, with the Conemaugh River, a major tributary to the Allegheny River, marking its southern boundary. The county has a total area of 834 square miles. Most of the county’s land area drains west of the Eastern Continental Divide toward the Ohio River basin, while the northeastern corner of the county drains east toward the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. The county is home to a major state park, all or portions of 10 state game lands and an extensive county parks and trails system that encompasses 2,700 acres of parks, regional trails, natural areas and historic sites.

Agriculture plays an important role in our landscape, our culture and our economy. In addition to being an agricultural county, vast resources of salt, coal, natural gas and timber, have contributed through the years to the development and prosperity of the local economy.

One of the proud ways the Indiana County Tourist Bureau is most visible is through its logo. Generally, over the years, logos need to be refreshed or changed. The current logo features a Christmas tree proudly embossed in front of an outline of Indiana County. We can thank the Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, longtime tourist bureau members, as they are responsible for the county being known as “The Christmas Tree Capital of the World,” and for a period of time, they marketed one million or more trees annually. Many families have made it a tradition to choose the perfect live Christmas tree from a local tree farm for their holiday season.

The Indiana County Tourist Bureau operates the county’s Welcome Center and maintains both a physical and virtual calendar filled with information about festivals, fairs and fun events. Most notably, every two years the tourist bureau creates and publishes a visitor’s guide, which captures the most picturesque scenes of plentiful and enjoyable opportunities and packages them into a captivating marketing piece. All of these resources can be found on a robust and active website that the tourist bureau uses to promote its members and their events and services. The tourist bureau is most locally recognizable and appreciated for their print, videos and radio interviews. It markets and promotes regionally, nationally and even internationally through fulfillment pieces.

Looking ahead isn’t new to Indiana County and has positioned us to be excited about being a destination for all. Indiana County boasts thriving, family-friendly places with a standout, above the rest quality of life, that allows you to “love where you live and love where you choose to do what you want to do.” In Indiana County, you can have a career you love, a passion you can pursue, a home you can afford, a safe place to raise a family and a life in balance between all the amenities of a larger city. These include cutting edge professional opportunities, excellent education options and convenient proximity to a broad spectrum of nearby culture and markets. Our welcoming communities, outstanding schools, endless outdoor adventures and vibrant arts and culture meet everyone where they want to be enjoying life on their terms. As the American lifestyle continues to transform, more and more people are relocating to smaller living centers with a higher quality of life. In the process, many are discovering what we’ve always known – living in Indiana County is “A Wonderful Life!”

– A Reflection by Commissioner Robin Gorman.


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