Nation's Largest Engagement Attempt To Kick Off On Valentine's Day With 'Burnin' Love' Festival in Forest Park

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

“If the Burnin’ Love Festival is successful, we hope it becomes an annual event that St. Louis becomes known for,” says Erin Budde, Executive Director of stl250. “It’s all about showing your love for the city while showing the love for one another.”

There’s no question that the festival shows every sign of being successful. Tens of thousands of attendees are expected to arrive on “Heart Hill,” known as Art Hill on the other 364 days of the year, for a one-of-a-kind celebration featuring live music, food, drink, family activities, fireworks and the largest mass engagement ever attempted this Friday, Feb. 14, beginning at 4:30pm. Organizers are planning on making it a Valentine’s Day celebration not soon forgotten.

St. Louis' 250th Anniversary Courtesy of stl250

St. Louis’ 250th Anniversary
Courtesy of stl250

The festival is a signature event celebrating St. Louis’ 250-year anniversary organized by stl250, the organization that is promoting all the cultural events across the region that will celebrate the city’s founding, plus throwing a few doozies of their own. “This is to make sure we have something different,” Budde said.

Among the many features will be a 25-foot tall Burnin’ Love heart, which will be set ablaze immediately following the mass engagement or renewal of vows officiated by “Elvis” at 7:30, where upon “Elvis” will sing—what else—”Burnin’ Love.” Guinness officials are expected to recognize the event as the largest mass engagement ever recorded, providing there are enough participants. And the first 250 couples who sign up for the “Lovin’ Moment” at the stl250 website will get a “Love Kit,” which includes a floating luminary they can ignite and release at the festival. Moreover, all couples who register will automatically be entered into a drawing for many oh-so-romantic prizes including a diamond ring, custom wedding cake and other sweetheart surprises.

The live music lineup alone is enough to draw crowds. Kicking off at 5:30pm, attendees can groove to Erin Bode, Pokey LaFarge, Elvis impersonator Steve Davis and the evening’s final performance by The Royal Rhythm & Blues All-stars, anchored by St. Louis Social Club and featuring Denise Thimes, a St. Louis favorite.

Festival-goers needn’t worry about going hungry and cold either. Warming stations, bonfires and heated tents will be conveniently located around the festival and will feature savory food from local establishments like Local Harvest, Molly’s in Soulard, Sugarfire Smokehouse and a hunger-satisfying host of others. Dishing up sweet treats falls to Bissinger’s Chocolates, Hank’s Cheesecakes, Piccione Pastry and other purveyors of delectable delights.

Visually, the event will be a stunner, with the park bathed in the color of Valentine’s Day. “We will light everything we possibly can in Forest Park red,” Budde said. A massive fireworks display will close out the evening at 10:15pm.

Due to the anticipated number of attendees, event organizers are strongly encouraging people to take Metro public transit to the park. For more information on the Burnin’ Love festival, including festival guidelines, parking, personal items that are allowed, or to register for the “Lovin Moment,” visit the stl250 website.

Follow Christopher Reilly on Twitter @ChristoReilly

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