Cassie Mattia

by Cassie Mattia,

Loveland, Ohio – The city of Loveland stole the hearts of many at the 3rd annual Hearts Afire Weekend! The celebration which took place on Friday, February 9 through Sunday, February 11 featured a number of heart-felt activities, vendors, food, drinks, live entertainment, Valentine’s Day decorations, and gorgeous ice sculptures.

This year, over 30 businesses participated in spreading the love! On Friday, the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance kicked off Hearts Afire Weekend with their annual Valentine’s Day breakfast where the 2024 Valentine’s Lady, Becky Giver, was announced as well as the winners of the poetry and art contests. Later, Friday evening Lemons & Limes Boutique, Blume Home, Alley Boutique, Trailside Provisions, and Whistle Stop Clay Works hosted a Galentine’s Night. The Loveland Stage Company also presented Crushin’ It (Vol. 2), a Valentine themed variety show. The first night of the Hearts Afire celebration ended with Line Dancing Lessons at City Hall and Love Songs Singo at Hops & Berry Taproom.

On Saturday, the Hearts Afire celebration featured over 30 different activities beginning with a Frozen meet and greet at Bike Trail Books and a puppy kissing booth at Eads Hardware Store and ending with Fireworks and a concert starring Rooster Ridge at Cappy’s Taproom. The day also included a Heart Art Scavenger Hunt, a unique Taylor Swift photo op and friendship bracelet activity, an ice sculpture walking tour, a Caricature Artist, carriage rides, pottery painting, a 360° Photo Booth, speed dating, food trucks, family karaoke, and the first ever dance Elvis costume contest.

On Saturday, I got the opportunity to volunteer at one of the most popular activities at the Hearts Afire Weekend, The Valentine Pageant! The 2nd annual Hearts Afire Valentine Pageant took place at the Loveland Stage Company and showcased children ages 1-4 as they competed to be crowned Miss Valentine or Mr. Cupid. The contest was judged by Loveland Valentine Ladies, Jeanie Shumaker, Donna Barns, Debbie Murray, and John Espy. This year Dr. Kathy Lorenz (2019 Valentine Lady) and Kay Bolin (2018 Valentine Lady) emceed the pageant.

During the pageant I directed guests where to sit and explained to them how to vote for their “Fan Favorite,” a category in which the audience could vote for their favorite child in the pageant. Those that voted included a dollar or more with their vote which went towards funding for a new HVAC system for the Loveland Stage Company.

Assistant City Manager, Misty Clark, was in awe as the guests rolled in as every single seat was filled in the Loveland Stage Company’s auditorium! “This is the largest turn out I have ever seen,” Misty said, “We also have 24 contestants this year in the pageant!”

I couldn’t help but get all the pageant action on camera after hearing how unbelievable the turnout was! Watch my Facebook Live and video from the 2nd Annual Hearts Afire Valentine’s Pageant!

The 2024 Hearts Afire Valentine’s Pageant winners were as follows: (Ages 1-2) – Little Miss Valentine – Rory, Little Mr. Cupid – Beau, (Ages 3-4) – Miss Valentine – Dawson Joan, and (People’s Choice) – Dawson Joan

The Hearts Afire Weekend ended on Sunday with a Chasing Cupid 5k at Fleet Feet, a Taylor Swift Brunch at Paxton’s Grill, and a Sweetheart Brunch at Tano Bistro.

I had an absolute blast exploring the Hearts Afire weekend festivities and meeting so many visitors that traveled miles just to experience the Hearts Afire celebration! I am so proud to be a part of the Sweetheart of Ohio! If you missed the 3rd Annual Hearts Afire Weekend watch the Loveland Magazine TV video that captures the essence of the celebration including “Family Karaoke” and the Dance Elvis Costume Contest! The music featured on the video is by DJ JOE KOOL.

All of our LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV episodes and my Table of Discussions are made possible by the generous support of the team of realtors at Move 2 Loveland.

President and Publisher of Loveland Magazine, Cassie Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland and the Public Relations Coordinator at Butler County Board of DD. Cassie was awarded the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance 2021 Young Business Professional of the Year.

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