Signs of Love
Signs of love are appearing all over this week as we celebrate Valentine’s Day. The city of Loveland, Colorado takes this holiday very seriously since it’s known as America’s “Sweetheart City.” For the past 40 years community groups in Loveland have been hanging large, hand-painted hearts around the city to raise funds for local charities.
When the tradition first began in the 1970s the hearts carried generic sayings similar to the popular candy hearts. In 1992 the Thompson Valley Rotary Club took over and the tradition evolved to personalized messages of love. Community members purchase the hearts and the messages are painted by local high school honor students and Rotary members. City of Loveland employees install the custom signs along major streets across town, where everyone can see them. Many of the hearts bear messages from one family member to another (including pets) while some are written in secret code or different languages. Once in a while there are even marriage proposals!
The club produces more than 300 custom-made heart signs each year. It is an important fundraiser for the Rotary Club, typically bringing in between $10,000 and $13,000. This money is donated to various community programs including support for disabled children, early literacy programs and youth leadership awards.
The Valentine’s celebrations in the Sweetheart City don’t stop there. The city of Loveland also re-mails 160,000 Valentine’s each year for people across the world. Since 1946 anyone can send a Valentine to the Loveland post office and it will be specially stamped. Volunteers will remove an outer envelope and post mark the Valentine envelope with a greeting from Loveland.
Does your community do anything special for Valentine’s Day?