Lovelock banks on ‘love locks’ to spur tourism
LOVELOCK (AP) – Love will reign in Lovelock this Valentine’s Day as state and local officials unveil a new campaign to lure sweethearts to this town 90 miles east of Reno.
Lovers Lock Plaza is being dedicated in a park behind the Pershing County Courthouse.
The plaza is designed to bank on an ancient Chinese tradition where couples symbolically seal their love by affixing a lock to a chain.
“Lovelock is a unique town with an ingenious idea to capitalize on its name,” said Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, chairwoman of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, which helped launch the campaign along with the Lovelock-Pershing County Chamber of Commerce.
“Engraving a heart-shaped lock and adding it to the chain is a fun way to say, ‘I was here,’ and symbolically declare one’s love,” said Hunt, who plans to add a lock of her own to the chain at Tuesday’s ceremony. Hunt is engaged to Las Vegas entertainer Dennis Bono.
“Someday we hope to see locks throughout the town as travelers continue to add their own sign of love to the chains,” she said.
The tourism commission provided a $35,000 grant to help market the campaign, while $40,000 came from the Nevada Commission on Economic Development to develop the park site.
Billboards recently installed along Interstate 80 advise, “Don’t let love pass you by,” and urge motorists to “Lock your love” in Lovelock.
Bruce Bommarito, director of the tourism commission, said in some parts of China there are miles of lock-laden chains across the countryside.
He noted that Lovelock has a Chinese history dating back to its turn-of-the-century mining and railroad heyday.
To promote the attraction, many businesses in town are providing free heart-shaped locks, officials said.
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