by Cassie Mattia
Loveland, Ohio- Valentine’s Day 2022 couldn’t have been better in the Sweetheart of Ohio! Loveland hosted its first Hearts Afire Weekend February 11th-13th in the heart of the Downtown Historic District. People from all over the Cincinnati area grabbed their friends and family for the historical event so that they could get a first look at all the Valentine’s Day fun!
Loveland’s Hearts Afire Weekend included a plethora of Valentine-themed activities, treats, music, dancing, ice sculptures, and decorations that many members of the community and local businesses helped organize making the weekend that much more special.
I got the opportunity to be a part of the event committee for Hearts Afire Weekend and wow was it rewarding to see how many people came downtown to celebrate love! I of course wanted to take in as much Valentine fun as possible so I grabbed my boyfriend and my dogs and made it my mission to get as much footage as I could of all the things Hearts Afire Weekend offered.
I kicked off my Loveland Hearts Afire experience with a Tarot Card reading from Francine Haydon, a highly talented woman who does intuitive readings, energy work, and classes. I was astonished at how much information and advice Francine was able to give me based on what each card I pulled out showed! Each card represented a month of the year and would display several different images or objects that Francine would then explain. After the reading, I felt as though I was fully prepared for what 2022 had in store for me!
After my Tarot Card Reading, I ventured out to the Loveland Stage Company where there was a beautifully decorated Kitty Kissing Booth and several kittens that you could adopt on the spot. Needless to say, I wanted to take home all the kittens they had along with the 20-pound rabbit that they had sitting peacefully in a baby stroller. Next, I went to Eads Fencing and the Loveland Hardware store where I participated in an impromptu photoshoot in their Puppy Kissing Booth with my dogs Dean and Nala! I also got the pleasure of meeting volunteers from the Furgotten Dog Rescue organization along with some little buddies who were up for adoption. If I was able to facilitate a small zoo I would have taken all the puppies too!
I was sure to stop in Mile42 Coffee on my way out as they always decorate for holidays and events with such style. The coffee shop was decorated gorgeously displaying sparkling red and pink Valentine hearts, streamers, and balloons. Parked right near Mile42 Coffee was Dolph’s Dogs and of course, Dolph was serving up only the most quality hot dogs! Owners of Mile42 Katie and Tim Butler couldn’t resist grabbing one of Dolph’s Dogs, which I thought was just another beautiful example of Loveland’s local businesses supporting one another!
Next, I took a stroll down the Loveland Bike Trail where pristine ice sculptures were displayed everywhere! One of my favorite ice sculptures was Trailside Provision’s as it was a gourmet popcorn box with ice cubes acting as the popcorn kernels. Trailside Provisions is known for its delicious homemade popcorn and treats so after seeing the ice sculpture I had to check out their decked-out Valentine’s Day shop. Not only did the shop go all out with the Valentine’s Day decor, but they also intricately made each product in the shop to in some way represent Valentine’s Day. From the homemade Valentine’s cards made for the Loveland Healthcare residents to the sprinkle and chocolate-covered pretzels, marshmallows, and caramels to the Valentine gift boxes filled with goodies, Trailside Provisions truly embodied the meaning of Hearts Afire Weekend!
Shortly after getting my sweet tooth fix, I visited Alley Boutique which also had beautiful Valentine’s Day decorations throughout the store. Inside the shop were caramel chocolate samples, a heartfelt gift basket raffle, and an endless amount of perfect Valentine’s Day gifts. As I left Alley Boutique I began to see more ice sculptures on display in front of each local business which really made for some excellent photo opportunities!
After capturing each ice sculpture in a photo I took a tour of Eskimo Kisses Village which was located on the Fountain Greene. Wow was it incredible! The entire area was decorated with signs that lit up saying things such as “Marry Me,” “I Love You,” and “Love.” In addition to the love-themed signs, there was an LED Putt-Putt station with 9 holes, a game similar to whack a mole called “Penguin Escape,” corn hole, “ice” skee ball, and a ring toss completely made out of ice! There, of course, were more photo opportunities including a Loveland Hearts Afire ice sculpture in which you could insert your face into the carved-out head and take a photo keepsake. Once it became dark outside the entire Eskimo Kisses Village was decked out in LED’s creating quite the ambiance as The ShamRocker entertained the community with music. One of the best moments during my time in Eskimo Kisses Village was when Premier Dance and Tumbling began a Flash Mob in the middle of Downtown Loveland’s main road to L-O-V-E! It was the epitome of love seeing the community sing and dance with the talented group of ladies from Premier Dance.
After enjoying the Flash Mob, I stopped by Loveland Sweets. The window display was awesome as it displayed heart-shaped boxes filled with homemade truffles on one side and hot chocolate sitting on top of marshmallows on the other side! Loveland Sweets’ ice sculpture that sat right in front of the store really brought on the nostalgia as it was sculpted into candy hearts all saying “sweet nothings.” Everything inside the shop was prepped and ready for Valentine’s Day. Not only were there boxes filled with gourmet chocolates decorated with big bright red bows, but there were also decorated Oreos, chocolate bark, and Valentine’s themed candies such as “Gummy Hugs and Kisses,” “Cherry Sweethearts,” and “Valentine Gummy Bears.” One of the treats that caught my eye was the “Donut Pretzels,” which were chocolate-covered pretzel rings!
After visiting my second Valentine’s treat shop, I decided to wander around and take photos of Loveland’s local business’s decor. Along my journey, I of course saw more ice sculptures but I also was able to see what activity each business had planned for the weekend. Hometown Cafe put on a delicious Hot Cocoa Bar accompanied by Loaded Sweet Potato Chips, The Works Pizza decked out their historical train car for “Single in the City” Speed Dating, Cappy’s Wine and Spirits held a Valentine’s Day-themed Charity Date Auction, and Loveland City Hall opened up their building to feature the “Heartland Market,” which included several local vendors all offering homemade gifts to give to your Valentine! I must say the atmosphere in Heartland Market was one for the books as each vendor had their products festively displayed while purple and pink strobe lights covered the walls.
Hearts Afire Weekend also featured many other local businesses and food trucks throughout downtown that I stopped by just to see what they had in store for the big event. The Chili Hut food truck served up its homemade Cincinnati Style Chili for dinner while The Cheesecakery offered one-of-kind cheesecakes to those who wanted to skip dinner and go straight to dessert! Parked right in front of Alley Boutique was Old School Pix, a vintage truck perfect for any photoshoot. Old School Pix had a lovely Valentine’s Day set-up for those who wanted to hop in the truck’s bed and have their photo taken with their loved ones. I decided to take full advantage of the photoshoot opportunity with my boyfriend and my two furbabies and wow did the photo turn out great! It was a perfect keepsake to remember how fantastic Loveland’s first Hearts Afire Weekend was!
The Hearts Afire Saturday “night-time” activities featured a live ice sculpting demonstration, fire performers, vow renewals, and fireworks. What a way to end the night with a bang!
It’s safe to say that Loveland’s Hearts Afire Weekend was a success. Seeing the community celebrate Valentine’s Day the Loveland way with those they love the most is exactly why Loveland will forever be the Sweetheart of Ohio!
If you couldn’t make it to Loveland’s Hearts Afire Weekend or would like to simply reminisce on all the fun festivities, check out the Loveland Magazine TV “Hearts Afire All-Access Pass” below!
We hope you enjoyed your All-Access Pass to Loveland’s Hearts Afire Weekend! This event has definitely become a new Valentine’s Day tradition! To all those who attended, we hope you had an absolute blast, and for those that didn’t get to attend, we want to see you in your best Valentine’s attire next year!
Stay tuned to the Loveland Salad With ME, Cassie Mattia for the latest local event updates!
Columnist Cassie Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland. She is the Co-Owner, Associate Editor, and Director of Marketing for Loveland Magazine. Contact her if you are interested in promoting your event or business in Loveland Magazine. Cassie also Emcee’s events so feel free to reach out if you are in need of an Emcee for your next event, fundraiser, or sports-related competition. Cassie was just awarded the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance 2021 Young Business Professional of the Year. Follow Cassie on Instagram and/or Facebook!