“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”
-Hal David, 1965
After the last couple of years, we could use a festival dedicated to love. That’s what the Sweetheart Festival is all about. I am excited about the event. Not only is it here in my town of Loveland, but it’s also something for me to anxiously anticipate, and I love anticipation.
Love is defined as “an intense feeling of deep affection.” We certainly have that for our spouse or significant other, but often we have a deep affection for friends and family. And you all know I have a deep affection for my dog, Fritzi! This festival is a celebration of all those loves.
From stilt walkers to fiddlers, from ice sculptures to a Miss Valentine and Mr. Cupid contest, from pyrotechnics to fire performers to hula hoopers, this festival will be a feast for the eyes. And hopefully, a reminder that love (and dare I say fun) conquers all.
The free festival will get underway on Friday, February 11 with a 5 p.m. start. Held at The Foundry, downtown, this would be an ideal time to stay in Loveland for a night or two. A handful of hotels are doing packages.
While there will be a kids zone, so much of what takes place at the Sweetheart Festival, from live music to a Palace of Sweets, is enjoyable for everyone no matter their age. Dance to Soul School, performing on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Stop by one of several photo stations and take a selfie. Watch ice sculptures take shape before your eyes. Order a pint of this year’s Bleeding Heart Valentine’s Day beer from Grimm Brothers Brewhouse inside the inflatable Pub Beer Garden.
Personally, I am looking forward to the music at Sweetheart Festival. In addition to Soul School, there will be a violin and sax performance, a quartet, and DJs spinning tunes. The entire affair sounds like an upbeat festival full of dancing and smiles. In fact, I dare you to visit the free Sweetheart Festival and not smile, at least once.
The Foundry is located in the heart of downtown. There will be vendors and food available for purchase at the event, however, downtown will be open and ready to serve festival-goers. Browse Loveland’s unique retail stores and grab drinks and dinner at one of the fine dining establishments.
On Saturday, there’s the Sweetheart Classic, a four-mile running race that is held in the middle of the action downtown. It happens on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Sign up here.
While in Loveland, don’t miss Valentine’s Day Lights at Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra. From February 1 until February 14, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. the park will be lit up with love. Think Zoo lights or Winter Wonderlights (held here over the holidays).
I know we are going to make a date night of it and head over for a cozy stroll among the lights followed by dinner at one of the Promenade Shops at Centerra’s many restaurants. By the way, the ice rink at the Promenade Shops is still open!
This town loves Valentine’s Day. For 76 years the Valentine’s Re-mailing Program has been taking place, and the Rotary Club puts up hearts on light poles. Loveland is even the site of a Group Wedding (or vow renewal) that always takes place on February 14.
The truth is, in the past, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. I considered it a “Hallmark Holiday,” which is a travesty because I live in LOVEland. This year, I feel differently. After two years of living through this pandemic, I’m ready to celebrate and I can think of no better thing to celebrate than LOVE.
I hope you join me!!!
February 11-12, 2022
Friday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. | Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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