ORION -- Inspired by a scene from Germany, Main Street Orion director Debbie Ford is planning to make Orion a "Lovescape Location" for the benefit of Central Park band shell.
The band shell, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, will mark its 100th birthday in 2013 and needs, among other repairs, new decking. Total cost of the repairs is estimated at $10,000.
A "Lovescape Location" is an official public fixture where people can lock a permanent padlock in place to commemorate a wedding or engagement, graduation or other special date, their love for a loved one, a pet, their community or just to say 'I was here.' Companies can order padlocks inscribed with the year they were established.
Ms. Ford saw the love locks at a Lovescape Location on the bridge over the Danube River in Regensburg, Germany last year and thought the concept might be applied to Orion.
There are several Lovescape Locations on the East Coast and West Coast in the U.S., but according to Ms. Ford, Orion's will make Illinois the eighth state in the country and the first in the Midwest to have one. Ms. Ford said she already has fielded interested calls from other communities in the Midwest.
Orion Main Street is selling the one-time locking Love Locks for $25. A locking ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Orion Central Park backstop. People may place the locks themselves or have a volunteer place it for them in an appropriate location on the backstop. Love locks still can be purchased after the locking ceremony, but the next couple weeks are Main Street's big push to sell them, explained Ms. Ford.
In Europe, the locks started in the 2000s on bridges, fences and poles in Paris, Rome and Dublin and even on the Great Wall of China. Some locations are known as "wish locks," with people wishing for love, money or happiness.
Ms. Ford noted the rewards from participating are threefold: becoming part of Orion's history, helping to preserve the band shell and having fun.
"Call Main Street Orion at (309)-526-8299 to learn more about ordering your padlock and be today's trend setter!" she urged.