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Cabbage Patch Kids(R) and Little People(R) Ambassadors For The Georgia Economic Development 2015 International VIP Tour

CLEVELAND, Ga., April 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BabyLand General® Hospital, home of the Cabbage Patch Kids, in Cleveland, Georgia, was one of the stops in the 7 host counties for the 2015 International VIP Tour, during the annual event hosted by the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) that took place April 15-17, 2015.

The small mountain community of Cleveland in White County, just north of Atlanta, has nurtured the growing global family of artist entrepreneur Xavier Roberts', Cabbage Patch Kids and their handmade forbearers, the Little People. In 1976, discovering the German technique of fabric sculpture as a 21-year-old art student, Xavier combined quilting skills he learned from his mother, passed down for generations in the Appalachian Mountains
Cleveland Mayor Don Stanley welcomed Consul Generals, directors and representatives of 28 different countries, along with Council members Rush Mauney and Annie Sutton. White County Economic Development Director Tom O'Bryant, representing the county showcased the county's assets along with White County Chamber President Cindy Bailey and Judy Barber, Executive Director of Sautee Nacoochee Community Center.

Always loyal to his hometown, Xavier broke ground for a new, columned, Southern-Style BabyLand General Hospital in 2007 with a formal grand opening in 2010. Original Appalachian Artworks Inc./dba BabyLand General Hospital is the parent company. Divisions include the tourist attraction, BabyLand General; the headquarters of a global licensing program; and the expanded online division in Cleveland, Ga. High speed internet access along the drive connects Cleveland with continents, while gardens expand with continued cultivation. Freshly washed with rain, visitors enjoyed the colorful display of thousands of blooming azaleas, forsythia, hyacinths and more. Rich red-leafed Japanese Maples fan the property, with hundreds of Asian Lilies and amaryllis bulbs pushing up. From these fertile grounds sprout Cabbage Patch Kids and Little People. They have left BabyLand and found homes in 20 of the 28 countries represented on this tour.

Many of the visitors from countries including Japan, Israel, Ireland, Brazil, India, Haiti, Mexico and Canada were familiar with Cabbage Patch Kids, but did not know about their folk art roots and their Georgia Appalachian Heritage. They witnessed the birth of a hand-made Little People Newborn from the Cabbage Patch. The group bonded with the adoption of a Cabbage Patch Kid Cutie. From BabyLand General the White County part of the tour included stops a the Sautee Nacoochee Center and on to Yonah Mountain Vineyards.

"BabyLand General Hospital was honored to be a part of Georgia's Economic Development 2015 International VIP Tour. Now, part of our family of 130 million Kids with Georgia roots, our guests could see our area is fertile ground for gardens, family and business," said Margaret McLean, Director of Corporate Communications for Original Appalachian Artworks Inc.

"The international diversity found in Georgia elevates the state as an ideal place to live and work," said Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Commissioner Chris Carr. "The ability to showcase Georgia's multi-faceted economy to influential leaders from 28 countries keeps Georgia's tourism opportunities and overall quality of life on the radar of the international business community."

The 2015 International VIP Tour is a 30 year tradition that brings the bulk of Atlanta's diplomatic community together with Georgians in different communities. This year, showcasing the northeast region of Georgia to the Consular Corps, the itinerary included a traditional tourism and economic development tour of the following communities: Dawsonville, Dahlonega, Young Harris, Cleveland, Sautee Nacoochee, Cornelia, Gainesville and Braselton.

"Every year the International VIP Tour shows off a 'slice' of Georgia to our Consular Corps," said Ember Bishop, deputy commissioner, international relations, GDEcD. "The tour creates an opportunity to familiarize our VIP Tour guests with destinations they might not have otherwise seen, as well as create long-lasting friendships and business connections within these thriving communities."

About Cabbage Patch Kids
Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc (OAA) owner of the Cabbage Patch Kids® brand, was founded in 1978 by Xavier Roberts the artist who created the Little People® and Cabbage Patch Kids. It is a privately held corporation located in Cleveland, Georgia. Doing business as BabyLand General® Hospital for almost 37 years OAA has continued to create in the USA, one-of-a-kind, hand-stitched soft-sculpture art known as Little People and Cabbage Patch Kids. Open year round BabyLand welcomes visitors to 300 N.O.K. Drive and its website www.cabbagepatchkids.com. Follow us on Twitter * @cpkusa * or visit our Facebook Cabbage Patch Kids Fan Page.

About the Georgia Department of Economic Development
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) plans, manages and mobilizes state resources to attract new business investment to Georgia, drive the expansion of existing industry and small business, locate new markets for Georgia products, inspire tourists to visit Georgia and promote the state as a top destination for arts events and film, music and digital entertainment projects.

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Tour Contacts:
http://www.cabbagepatchkids.com/
Margaret.McLean@Cabbagepatchkids.com
BabyLand General Hospital/Cabbage Patch Kids
706-865-2171, Ext. 241
BabyLand General Hospital
300 N.O.K. Dr.
Cleveland, GA 30528

Connie Tracas: City of Cleveland
706-865-2017
85 South Main St.
Cleveland, GA 30528
cityclerk@cityofclevelandga.org * www.cityofclevelandga.org

Contact: Cindy Bailey*President White County Chamber of Commerce
122 N. Main St.
Cleveland, GA 30528
( o ) 706-865-5356 ( c ) 706-265-9624
http://www.whitecountychamber.org * Cindy@whitecountychamber.org

Contact: Tom O'Bryant: White County Community and Economic Development
1241 Helen Highway, Suite 220
Cleveland, Georgia 30528
(706) 865-6768
tobryant@whitecounty.net * http://www.whitecountychamber.org/economic-development.php

Contact: Jonathan Boisjolie: Yonah Mountain Vineyards
1717 Hwy 255 S.
Cleveland, Georgia 30528
(706) 878-5522
jon@yonahmountainvineyards.com * http://www.yonahmountainvineyards.com

Contact: Ember Bishop: Georgia Department of Economic Development
75 5th St. NW, Suite 1200
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 962-4000
ebishop@georgia.org * http://www.georgia.org





A photo accompanying this release is available at:
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=32451

CONTACT: Margaret.McLean@Cabbagepatchkids.com 706-865-2171, Ext. 241 BabyLand General Hospital 300 N.O.K. Dr. Cleveland

Source: Cabbage Patch Kids (Original Appalachian Artworks)