Virginia’s newest LOVEwork sculpture was fittingly unveiled on Valentine’s Day, February 14, at the Vinton War Memorial.
The sculpture in four parts, “L-O-V-E,” is now standing on the front lawn of the campus, closer to Washington Avenue than to the War Memorial itself.
The “L” is made up of a bride and groom representing the six wedding venues in the Vinton area; the “O” represents the history of the town with the Gish’s Mill waterwheel, using actual wood from the old mill; the “V” stands for dining In Vinton with a fork and spoon; and the “E” is composed of a boat and oars, representing the blueways and boat launch located in Vinton.
The Town of Vinton and Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge Travel and Tourism invited the community to “Share the Love” by attending the ceremony to celebrate travel and tourism in Vinton and Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Chasity Barbour, event and facility manager for the Vinton War Memorial, coordinated the event.
According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation website, the LOVEworks program is a statewide branding initiative, designed to promote historic life experiences and destinations in Virginia. Each sculpture is unique to the area that builds it.
After seeing the popularity of the LOVE signs created at Welcome Centers around the Commonwealth, Virginia Tourism established the LOVEworks reimbursement program in 2013. The program was a success, with 16 LOVEworks created in the first year and travelers of all ages interacting with the structures every day.
A second LOVEworks reimbursement fund was opened in 2014 and has remained open since; more than 65 LOVEworks have been built around the state.
The LOVEworks have become special places, not only for local communities, but also for travelers. People are drawn to the LOVE letters and often choose them as backdrops for special occasions such as engagements, family photos, memorable road trips, and more.
The development of the LOVEworks sign at the War Memorial in Vinton has required a great deal of effort from town staff over the course of a year. An application was submitted and reviewed. Once accepted, the work began.
Sponsors include Virginia Is For Lovers at virginia.org and #LOVEVA, #LOVEVINTON, and Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2016, the tourism industry generated $24 billion in revenue, supported 230,000 jobs and provided $1.7 billion in state and local taxes.
Check www.virginia.org/LOVE/ to see the other unique LOVEworks sculptures throughout the state.