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What Makes Loveland, Colorado Such a Special Place?

sunset over lake loveland

Of course the friendly people and the gorgeous scenery, like this view of the sunset over the Rockies from Lake Loveland.

There is so much to do here, it is hard NOT to fall in love with Colorado’s Sweetheart City.

volunteers preparing valentines

FEBRUARY

Beginning February 1st, Loveland shares the love with their Valentine Remailing Program. More than 100,000 valentines are sent through Valentine Station here every year. A new card, verse and cancellation are created every year, giving residents an opportunity to share their creativity with the world.

Since 1947, the chamber, the Loveland post office and 60 volunteer stampers have been bringing love, hope and sentiments to people in all 50 states and more than 110 countries with a special cachet stamp and message through the program. More than 130,000 valentines get mailed each year from mothers to sons, grandfathers to granddaughters and everyone in between. Famous athletes, celebrities and even the president often get valentines stamped with Loveland’s special message. Some of the most heartfelt valentines that have come through Loveland are the ones sending messages of hope and love to our troops overseas, to children battling life-threatening illnesses and to those who are overcoming tragedy and need an extra note of encouragement.

horse-ice-sculpture

The Loveland Fire and Ice Festival is held downtown in February. This festival features ice sculptures, fireworks, live music, and a whole lot more fun for the entire family.

This family-friendly festival is FREE to the public and celebrates the heart of Loveland. From Fire to Ice; hot & cold, yin & yang – people of passion converge in Loveland, Colorado for Valentine’s day weekend to celebrate love, life and the arts in all different forms.

MEMORIAL DAY TO LABOR DAY

Lake Loveland Swim Beach

Lake Loveland Swim Beach is free and open to the public during the summer. Other opportunities to swim are at the Winona outdoor pool and year-round at Chilson Recreation Center.

JULY

little girl eating cherry pie

Cherry Pie Days Celebration, this free event celebrates the history of cherry orchards in the area. Pie is available to purchase by the slice, along with ice cream and drinks.

This annual event continues to delight. Enjoy delicious cherry pie and tasty ice cream while listening to live music and browsing vendor booths. Children’s activities, historical displays, and a cherry pie contest make this an evening to remember.

AUGUST

Art is always a big deal in Loveland, but no more so than the second weekend each August. That is when the town pops with outdoor art shows.

Art in the Park  is Colorado’s longest running art festival, with shows for more than 50 years!

The Thompson Valley Art League has been supporting and promoting artists and artisans since 1965. The first Art in the Park was held in 1966 at Dwayne Webster Park (Cannon Park) on the south side of Lake Loveland, and had less than 20 participating artists. This festival has grown into a two-day event featuring over 200 artisans. 

Art in the Park has emerged as an artisan event that draws people from all over the country. Art in the Park  takes place the same weekend as the internationally renowned Sculpture in the Park. These events, combined, draw over 30,000 people to Loveland. 

exhibition tents

Sculpture in the Park is the largest outdoor juried sculpture exhibition in the country. Located in Benson Sculpture Park, this art exhibition and sale features approximately 160 sculptors and more than 2000 sculptures in all media and styles.

In 1984, a group of five Loveland sculptors, George Lundeen, Dan Ostermiller, George Walbye, Fritz White, and Hollis Williford, together with representatives of the City of Loveland, the Chamber of Commerce and a few interested citizens fostered the idea of a sculpture show in Benson Park. They envisioned the outdoor exhibition and sale as a unique environment for sculptors from across the country to showcase their work as well as a way to generate funding for a sculpture garden. The City of Loveland designated Benson Park as the site for the sculpture garden and in 1985, it became a reality.

SEPTEMBER

chalk drawing on sidewalk

Pastels on 5th, held in September, is a one day event.

Pastels on 5th is a sidewalk chalk art festival that highlights one of Loveland’s most distinguishing features—it’s internationally renowned arts community. Join us, the second Saturday in September, as an artist, sponsor, or spectator!

 

ALL YEAR LONG

Art Museum & Theater

Loveland Museum-strip-banner

The Loveland Museum and Gallery, located downtown, houses rotating art exhibits of national caliber. This is also the home of the exhibits about Loveland’s history, including her days as a sugarbeet industry hub. Kids and adults can take part in a variety of classes and workshops. The Museum also hosts numerous programs and events throughout the year including Foote Lagoon Summer Concerts, Pastels on 5th, and Cherry Pie Celebration.

The Rialto Theater, founded in 1920 as a silent movie theater, has been updated and serves as host to a variety of nationally touring performers–musical, comedy, and theater, as well as locally produced plays and musical events. Movies are also shown at the Rialto.

From its beginnings as a silent movie theater to its current status as the premiere performing arts venue in Loveland, the excitement of show time and the tantalizing aroma of popcorn have been a part of the theater on an almost nightly basis for almost a century.

Today, the Rialto Theater is a facility of the City of Loveland and is once again a place where the community comes together. The performance hall is alive with music, theater, film and community events. It boasts 446 seats, additional disabled seating, state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment and a corps of over 100 volunteers. The Rialto hosts nationally touring performers, local performing arts groups & musicians, and business meetings. In keeping with tradition, the Rialto shows independent films monthly and twice yearly, features silent films with live music accompaniment. The Rialto Theater continues to provide new and unique experiences for its patrons and is an important part of the Loveland community.

Breweries & Distilleries

Colorado Eagles hockey games

Golf

Mariana Butte golf course and pro shop

Loveland is home to 3 unique golf courses: Mariana Butte, with the Games on the Range

The Olde Course

The Olde Course,

and Cattail; along with the SNAG course which is fun for the entire family

SNAG golf

Parks, Hiking & Trails, Open Space and Nature Areas

Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail

Rocky Mountain National Park

Loveland is the gateway to this fabulous national park.

Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles encompass and protect spectacular mountain environments. Enjoy Trail Ridge Road – which crests at over 12,000 feet including many overlooks to experience the subalpine and alpine worlds – along with over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, wildlife, starry nights, and fun times. In a world of superlatives, Rocky is on top!

Sculpture

Stone sculpture in front of field

In addition to Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland is also the adopted home of Chapungu Sculpture Park.

A sanctuary from the everyday, the 26-acre Chapungu (pronounced cha-poon-goo) Sculpture Park is the only permanent exhibit of its kind in the U.S. Located east of The Promenade Shops at Centerra off Centerra Parkway and Hwy. 34 in Loveland, the public park features 82 African stone sculptures carved by artists from Zimbabwe. The artwork is positioned among water features, a 1.5 mile walking trail, benches for seating and community gathering areas

Sculpture is carved deep in the heart of Loveland. The city is the home to countless artists, foundries, and people who love and support the arts. A walk downtown will ensure to find several of the pieces that are part of the city’s public art collection.

In 2005, John Villani, published his fourth edition of “The 100 Best Art Towns in America” and named Loveland as the number two art town, only behind Santa Fe, NM. With over 200 unique sculpture pieces, three major art shows a year, two of North America’s largest foundries and two sculpture parks it is easy to understand why Loveland has become an established arts community!

Shopping from downtown, to the Promenade Shops and the Outlet Malls, there are stores of every type to keep you busy.

Stone Age Fair, watch the calendar for this event. Originally in the town of Cornish, Colorado in 1934, the Stone Age Fair moved to Loveland in August 1940. Held in September in 2016, the most recent fair was in April 2017.

The Fair and its schedule of fine speakers are all provided with no admission charged. The Loveland Archaeological Society dues, sponsorships from a very few sources, and various types of donations provide the funding for the Fair. All donations are welcome and are tax deductible.


photo credits:

Valentine Station volunteers from WithLoveFromLoveland

Horse ice sculpture from Loveland Fire and Ice

Pastels on 5th, from Loveland Museum and Gallery.

Cherry Pie Girl, from Loveland Museum and Gallery

Sculpture in the Park image from Sculpture in the Park

Chapungu Sculpture Park image from Centerra