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Organizing the stencils

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Loveland Hearts Program

The Sweetheart City's

Although our town’s name does not originate from any type of romantic inspiration, we have still come to be known worldwide as “The Sweetheart City”. The history of how our quiet town earned that nickname is somewhat of a lesser shared story. In the early 1950s, Loveland’s postmaster, Elmer Ivers, decided that the town could capitalize on the popular misconception of its name and we then began promoting our aptly named town as “The Sweetheart City”. Over the years, Loveland has become famous for many of its February Valentine’s traditions, including the Loveland Valentine's postmark and re-mailing program, Miss Loveland Valentine, having a Valentine designed specifically for the town, and most visibly notable throughout town, the Loveland Hearts Program. 

For more than 40 years, every February the streets of our sweet little town are lined with hundreds of red wooden hearts. Hung up by the city of Loveland, each personalized heart is secured to streetlights and telephone poles throughout town, all boasting unique messages containing words of affection, devotion, and admiration in just 25 letters or less. 

Originally, this tradition began with a local group named The JC’s, who began by hanging a few hearts around town decorated with normal generic Valentine’s sayings, much like those you would find in a box of candy hearts. Eventually, no longer wanting to spearhead the project, it was taken over and has been led by the Thompson Valley Rotary Club since 1992. As a unique fundraising opportunity, Rotary offers for the hearts to be personalized with individual messages of love and adoration every season. This tradition has become so popular that the hearts normally sell out before the month of December even fully begins.  

Once orders are closed, every heart is re-painted red to provide a blank slate for each new year’s messages of love. They are then hand stenciled and personalized one by one, according to their order’s requests by Thompson Valley’s National Honor Society students, Interact Clubs, and Thompson Valley Rotarians. A portion of the paint used for the Heart Program every year is also donated by Guiry’s Paints. The painting of the hearts is worked on all throughout the whole month of December in a locally donated barn space, accurately named “Cupid’s Workshop”. Beginning with only 25-30 hearts in its first year, they now create an impressive 390 hearts every year, adorning the town with hundreds of messages of admiration, love, and devotion. 

A unique opportunity for all those involved, it really is a project filled with the goodness still surrounding us all daily and provides volunteers and onlookers alike a chance to witness a part of something that gives back. The donated time, the declarations of love shared with the world, and the love poured back into the community are what make it so impactful. Although the program itself has grown in capacity, it still holds the same sweet message at its core - a gift given out of love, created with love, that then gives back, from love.


The message It really shares is larger than what we see. A gift given out of love, created with love, that then gives back, from love.

What I love about this program is the basis of its theme. Love. It really is like a giant circle of love and a perfect example of getting out what you put into things, and we see the effect of that all over town every year.

Rotarian TJ Julien

  • Organizing the stencils
  • Stencils of Love
  • Last minute touch ups
  • Hearts ready to be transported
  • Cupid's Workshop