Loveland Is Having Its Big Day

Colorado town has stamped thousands of Valentine's cards every year for nearly 8 decades
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 14, 2024 3:27 PM CST
Loveland Is Having Its Big Day
A special cancellation postmark is seen on a Valentine’s Day card in Loveland, Colorado, on Feb. 7. Every year, tens of thousands from around the world route their Valentine's Day cards to "Sweetheart City" to get an inscription and the coveted Loveland postmark.   (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

Love is in the air—and the mail—in the northern Colorado city of Loveland. Every year, tens of thousands of people from around the world route their Valentine's Day cards to "Sweetheart City" to get a special inscription and the coveted Loveland postmark. The remailing tradition has been going on for nearly 80 years and is the largest of its kind in the world, according to Mindy McCloughan, president and CEO of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. At its height, the AP reports that program volunteers processed more than 300,000 pieces of mail per year. That number has dropped to between 100,000 and 125,000 as people turned to email and social media messaging.

Volunteers dressed in Valentine's-themed garb gather before the big day to stamp thousands of envelopes with the special postmark and cachet. "Love is our message—hearts are our brand. Happy Valentine's Day from the City of LOVEland," the cachet reads in part. One of the more seasoned volunteers, 89-year-old Joyce Boston, has been stamping since 1997. "What do I get out of it? ... A lot of new friends. Friendship. Spreading love. I love spreading love," she says. "And I love doing volunteer work. It ... gives me a reason to keep living. Yeah. Keeps me young."

In addition to the Valentine remailing program, Loveland holds a Sweetheart Festival, crowns a Miss Loveland Valentine, and is decorated year-round with hearts attached to lampposts and featured in murals. The city about 50 miles north of Denver also has a large metal "Love" sign at the visitors center, where people attach padlocks engraved with names and messages of love. "In a time when there is such uncertainty in the world, what greater thing to do than to share love and compassion and hope with those around the world ... when it's needed most?" McCloughan says of the program, which receives mail from all 50 states and 110 countries. (More Valentine's Day stories.)

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