A new LOVE sign was unveiled at the Willis Gap Community Center on Feb. 23.
Mary Dellenback Hill, Secretary for the Willis Gap Community Center, said the idea started in Jan. 2022 when Sandra Belcher, then director of tourism, contacted her with a proposal of creating a love sign using the Crooked Road logo.
“Of course, we wanted to do it,” Dellenback said. “So, I did the large base for the L, the O is the logo for the Crooked Road, and then the mandolin and the fiddle for the V and a musical note for the E.”
Hill said the sign cost $1,700 from Sign Spot in Christiansburg. The center applied for $1,800 in funding from Patrick County Tourism to advertise the sign and $1,500 from the Virginia Loveworks program.
“I think $1,600 left to do brochures and advertising for the Love sign,” she said.
When the design was submitted, Hill said David Stanley created computer versions of the sign and placed them on different parts of the building.
“We chose the front of the building eventually, and then he had the sign made at Sign Spot,” she said.
James Houchins, current director of Tourism and Marketing, said the sign marks Patrick County’s ninth in the LOVE works program.
“The ‘Loveworks’ program is a state-wide branding initiative designed to promote historic life experiences in Virginia and strengthen awareness of the ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ message,” he said.
Houchins said it’s easy to see why ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ has been the state slogan for nearly 50 years, because from the coast to the mountains and everywhere in between, people “are bound to find something to fall in love with in Virginia.”
Since 2013, more than 250 “Love works” signs have been built around the state.
Houchins said the ‘Loveworks’ have become special places for travelers and local communities.
“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 ‘LOVEworks’ program is a great way for local communities to leverage the brand strength of ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ to promote their message and unique destinations,” he said.
In a message sent to the sign unveiling, Carrie Beck, executive director of the Crooked Road, said the organization is excited about the unique sign.
“There is a long history of pickers and legends that have been in this building, so this sign is an amazing way to showcase their pride in this event,” Beck said. “The Crooked Road is thrilled to have partners in the region that make heritage music every week with such dedication and think that the LOVE sign is a true beacon for Patrick County.”