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Call it what you want: savvy marketing or just a sweet concept. Either way, the idea to stamp Valentine’s Day cards—yes, as in snail mail—in Colorado’s so-called Sweetheart City went viral well before “viral” was a pop culture buzzword. Hatched in 1946, the program grew mostly by word of mouth. At its peak about a decade ago, as many as 60 volunteers churned through 300,000 cards sent to Loveland to be hand-stamped with sentimental phrases (“From mountains high to lakesides blue, this heart’s from Loveland, dear one, to you”) and then re-mailed to that special someone. With the onset of e-cards and Facebook messages, postal traffic has dipped—an average of 160,000 valentines have been stamped and mailed each February over
the past few years—which only adds to the cachet of a love letter from the land of love.