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Blenko fans line up for W.Va. 150th birthday vase

MILTON, W.Va. -- Blenko Glass' limited-edition vase commemorating West Virginia's 150th anniversary doesn't go on sale until Saturday. But Blenko fans already are lining up to buy the 11-inch tall vases.

Early-arriving fans set up tents outside the glassmaker's headquarters and visitor center in Milton, The Herald-Dispatch reported Thursday.

Blenko made 150 of the light blue vases, which have hearts stamped on two sides. One represents the past and the other the future.

"We wanted this piece to be extra special," said designer Arlon Bayliss. "As I thought about the theme for this important Blenko Birthday piece, my mind kept returning to how West Virginians hold each other in their hearts, to their generosity, hard work and love."

Blenko makes a limited-edition vase every year to commemorate the state's anniversary. The number of vases made is the same as the state's age.

The company donated one of the sesquicentennial vases to West Virginia University's art collection, a tradition that began in 1980, the WVU Foundation said Thursday.

The university's West Virginia Birthday Blenko Glass Collection includes the personal collection of WVU graduate Hillary Homburg's family. The vases were made from 1980 to 2007.

Homburg donated her family's collection to the university in 2007.

Blenko has been making hand-blown glass products since 1893.


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