Colorado's 150th birthday is still more than three years away, but the state is getting an early start on the party. 

Gov. Jared Polis Wednesday unveiled the two winners of a contest to design the state's 150th anniversary license plate. 

The two plates will be available to purchase beginning Aug. 1, the state's official birthday, and through Aug. 1, 2027, the governor said. 

Wednesday's unveiling marked the first official celebration for the state's sesquicentennial, which coincides with the 250th birthday of the United States, he pointed out.

The plates came from a contest held by the Department of Revenue and its division of motor vehicles, with 30,000 votes cast.

And the winners are:

• Calista Blaschke, who won the 13-and-under contest. She's 11 and attends Grant Beacon Middle School in Denver.

Her design picks up on the state's signature mountain, Pikes Peak, and includes the state bird, the lark bunting, and the state tree, the Colorado blue spruce. She said she was inspired by an article she read about the history of Pikes Peak.

Blaschke has yet to visit the summit of Pikes Peak, she said. The governor advised her to take the cog railway and avoid the "scary" drive. 

• Evan Griesheimer, a 2021 graduate of Colorado State University, designed the plate for the over-13 contest. His design draws from the colors of the state flag; a badge in the middle comes from the state seal, representing the history of the state, including its mining heritage, he explained.

The plate will be available at no additional cost, unlike specialty license plates, the governor explained. "We want to make sure everyone can take part" in the celebration of the state's birthday, he added. The designs "share the vision of who we are, can be and want to be," he said. 

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