January 2, 2024

Loveland launches 78th Valentine season

LOVELAND — The Loveland Chamber of Commerce, Visit Loveland and their partners have formalized details and arrangements for the city’s 78th annual Valentine season. Festivities include the Valentine Re-Mailing Program, the Sweetheart Festival and offerings such as Valentine-themed wine, beer, candy, and coffee, the Loveland Sweetheart Classic 4-mile race, and the Valentine Group Wedding.

The wedding event will take place Feb. 14 on the ice of Blue Arena just before the Sweetheart Game featuring the American Hockey League’s Colorado Eagles.

“We are thrilled to mark our 78th year of sending love across the globe,” Mindy McCloughan, president of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce, said in a prepared statement. “Still today, the Valentine season remains enchanting in Loveland. There’s no better way to propagate love, joy and hope than through a heartfelt Valentine sent from the Sweetheart City. The designs and verses chosen this year embody Loveland’s commitment to spreading love and kindness. It is particularly significant to continue sharing this time-honored tradition with the world, emphasizing that love is the greatest gift we can both give and receive.”

The 2024 official Loveland Valentine card, collector’s stamp (also known as a cachet) and postmark will be stamped on every piece of mail that comes through the program. Loveland receives around 100,000 Valentines annually from all 50 states and 110 countries through its re-mailing program. Sponsors and volunteers handstamp the collector’s stamp and postmark onto each individual Valentine that comes through the city’s post office.

The 2024 collector’s envelope artwork, designed by Corry McDowell, includes the following verse written by Jeani Bork:

“We are on our annual mission 

Promoting love, as is our tradition. 

Love is our message – Hearts are our brand. 

Happy Valentine’s Day from the City of LOVEland.”

McDowell, a resident of Loveland since 1972, has been a day-care mom for 20 years. She originally entered some designs for the Valentine program at the prompting of a friend, and in 1996 was surprised to hear that the Chamber liked her ideas. She has had her card design used seven times, her cachet design chosen 20 times, and the postal cancellation design selected 12 times.

Bork, a Loveland resident since 1977, first submitted a card verse in a 2019 contest, and after it was accepted, successfully submitted verses for the 2020, 2022 and 2024 remailings.

Those wishing to get this special 2024 collector’s envelope artwork and postmark should package pre-addressed, pre-stamped Valentines in a larger first-class envelope and send to Postmaster – Attention Valentines, 446 E. 29th St., Loveland, CO 80538-9998. Once received, Valentines will be removed from the larger envelope and hand-stamped before being re-mailed to intended recipients.

The official Valentine drop location sponsors include Independent Financial and Elevations Credit Union. Self-addressed, stamped Valentine envelopes can be dropped at any of those locations, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, Visitor’s Center and The Loveland Post Office locations at 446 E. 29th St. and 601 Cleveland Ave. Post offices will accept Valentines to be dropped off in the red mailbox displayed in the lobby from Jan. 16 through Feb. 9.

Mailing deadlines are Feb, 1 for international mail, Feb. 5 for the continental United States and Feb. 7 for mail to be sent within Colorado.

The 2024 Valentine card, designed by Tiffany Villavicencio, owner of Mountain Wave Marketing, features a landscape photo of the Rocky Mountains and Devil’s Backbone. The card verse was created by Brenda S. Glover:

“In any season – spring, summer, winter, fall – 

The Sweetheart City has feelings for all. 

And especially in February, we wish to say, 

“Joy, happiness and love to you on Valentine’s Day.”

Brenda Glover moved to Loveland in 2004. After 37 years working at Anthem and IBM, she retired as an information technology specialist, then volunteered at the visitors center before being hired as a part-time clerk. She volunteers with the Friends of the Loveland Library, is part of the Windsor Museum curator crew and serves on her homeowners’ association board.

The cards can be purchased online at Loveland.org for $12, which includes the card, printing, processing and postage. All cards purchased through Loveland.org will automatically go through the re-mailing program. The 2024 collectible cards may also be purchased in person at the Loveland Visitor Center, B Sweet Cupcakes, Olive and Herb, Columbine Drug, Club Loveland, Loveland Good Sam, Barnyard Vet, the Cleveland Avenue branch of Independent Financial, the Loveland Museum, Mail Mart, Rowes Flowers and King Soopers.

The sixth annual Loveland Sweetheart Festival will be held Feb. 10, including live ice carving, art and fire sculpture demonstrations, musical and dance performances on a community stage, and headliners Spinphony at the Rialto Theater. A kids zone will include oversized building bricks, outdoor games and a community mural. Also a part of the festival will be a tunnel of love, food trucks, The Palace of Sweets, The Sweetheart Classic 4-miler, and the Little Miss Valentine and Little Mr. Cupid contest.

Beginning Feb. 1, Visit Loveland will transition the lights from Winter Wonderlights over to red and pink and fill the Chapungu Sculpture Park with hearts, romantic-themed photo opportunities, decor and a 30-minute light show set to love songs. The show will run nightly from 5 to 9 p.m.

A new event this year will be a special date night under the stars from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 17 at the sculpture park. Visitors can wander the love-inspired twinkle lights while being entertained by dueling pianos, sampling wine and beer tastings and more. The event is free, and drink tickets will be for sale to those age 21 and older. The event is sponsored by the Centerra Engagement Assembly and made possible through partnerships with Visit Loveland and Townsquare Media. 

Events surrounding the Sweetheart Game on Feb. 14 at Blue Arena, featuring the Colorado Eagles and Bakersfield Condors, will include a contest to win one of 150 “Sweetheart City Packs” via Eagles social media beginning the last week in January. Each of the packs will include two tickets to the game and a gift bag from Visit Loveland.

Red and pink light sticks will be provided by the city of Loveland for the first 2,500 fans in attendance. During a stoppage in play, fans will be invited to participate in “Northern Colorado’s Biggest Valentine Kiss.”

The eighth annual wedding on the ice at 4 p.m., before the game, will feature music chosen by guests, a personalized ceremony, commemorative photos, gift bags, special wedding cupcakes, a symbolic love lock for Loveland’s LOVE or HEART sculptures, and a chance to win a large gift basket. Additionally, the package includes tickets to the Eagles game later in the evening following the on-ice ceremony. Cost is $160 per couple and registration is limited. Loveland’s Valentine’s Day Group Wedding is hosted by Big Deal Co. in partnership with the Colorado Eagles, Visit Loveland and the Loveland Chamber.

The Loveland Sweetheart Classic, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 10 in downtown Loveland, will be a six-mile run-walk sponsored by Redemption Church. The new course will take participants from downtown on a scenic tour.

 Participants can run or walk as an individual or as a couple. A brand new race course will be unveiled online in the coming days. 

Sweet Heart Winery & Event Center will feature its annual limited-release Valentine wine, a 2021 Malbec aged on French oak. The Loveland Chamber has partnered with Top of the Lake Coffee to produce the 2024 official Loveland Valentine coffee, Vanilla Macadamia Nut, which will be sold at the Loveland Visitors Center. Grimm Brothers will brew its annual Valentines Day beer, Bleeding Heart 2024, returning to offering a chocolate cherry porter, which was the flavor of the first Bleeding Heart brewed in 2012. Colorado Candy Co. will feature a heart-shaped, chocolate and cherry-flavored candy that will be made only for Loveland and sold at the visitors center and Centerra Hallmark.

Loveland has selected a Miss Loveland Valentine since 1962, and McKayley Lane was selected this year. With the selection, she will receive a college scholarship from a trust established by the founders of the Loveland Valentine Program, Ted and Mabel Thompson.

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