GOSHEN — The hunt has begun for the coolest thing that’s made in Elkhart County.

County Commissioner Mike Yoder on Saturday announced the contest, which is taking nominations until March 31. He said 50 things will be featured later this year based on public votes, in order to showcase not only the range of products that come from here but also the people and companies that make them.

There are no restrictions on what kinds of things can be nominated, he added.

“We make cool things in the RV industry, just like we make cool things in the non-RV industry,” he said. “There’s been a pizza that’s been nominated. We purposely didn’t limit anything at all. We talked about limiting it to manufacturing, but we just decided anything that’s made in Elkhart County is eligible.”

The first 50 companies that agree to participate will get a 30-second video, written article, photo shoot and other promotional material. They also get the chance for their product to be crowned the coolest thing made locally, which Yoder said might come with a plaque.

He said the idea came from a statewide campaign that’s been held in Wisconsin for a few years. Past winners there include a repeating rifle, a motorcycle engine and a sea salt caramel pecan pastry.

Yoder said he believes Elkhart County will get 50 nominations pretty quickly.

Chris Stager, president of the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp., said the idea is to make the local community aware of what’s being made in their own backyard. He said there are a lot of things for people to choose from.

“We do have a lot of diversity in the things that we manufacture,” he said. “We’re just trying to make sure that some of those things that the general public aren’t aware of are highlighted.”

Nominations can be made at madeinelkhartcounty.com. Voting will be open for a two-week period in April and the winner will be named in May.

The contest is sponsored by the county board of commissioners, the EDC and the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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