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September 10, 2018

Warrenton LOVE sculpture dedication Sept. 20

Monica Anne Fernandi and Mike King will get married at the LOVE sculpture following the unveiling on Thursday, Sept. 20. Photo/Soul Inspired Photo
Experience Old Town Warrenton, the Main Street organization, will unveil the town’s LOVEwork sculpture next week with a dedication ceremony and wedding.

The event at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 will take place at the end of South Fourth Street, behind Claire’s at the Depot restaurant.

Originally scheduled for this week, the event was rescheduled due to the threat of Hurricane Florence.

The art installation is part of the “LOVEwork” campaign, an effort led by the Virginia Tourism Corporation to promote travel in the state.

The colorful steel structure, designed to look like an old railcar will stand near the entrance of the Warrenton Branch Greenway, a paved trail that runs along a reclaimed railway bed.

Local artist Dorothy Smith created the LOVE sculpture, which will have a platform for visitors to stand on while taking pictures.

Local real estate investor Matt Iten donated $10,000 to construct the sculpture.

The LOVEworks program is an extension of the nearly 50-year-old “Virginia is for Lovers” brand, designed to promote travel throughout the Commonwealth.

More than 100 other LOVEworks stand throughout Virginia.

This will be Warrenton’s second LOVEwork structure. Airlie unveiled its sculpture, made of 98 percent recycled materials, on Earth Day in 2016.

A local couple will get married by Warrenton’s sculpture following the dedication ceremony.

Ciao Bella Celebrations will conduct the wedding ceremony for Monica Anne Fernandi and Mike King, who were selected from love stories submitted in an online contest.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds will spend their honeymoon night The Chilton House bed and breakfast.

Ms. Fernandi, born and raised in New Jersey, moved to Virginia in 2008, where she began teaching yoga at the Warrenton Aquatic and Recreational Facility.

Mr. King, a Virginia local and mail carrier in Old Town Warrenton known as “Mailman Mike,” was part of the Warrenton Masters Swim Team at the WARF and eventually began taking Monica’s yoga classes in 2015.

“Right away, it was apparent we had very similar positive outlooks on life,” Ms. Fernandi said. “‘The sun always shines behind the rain cloud!’ I tell my students and clients. And Mike always sees the sun, whether there is rain or snow during his work day.”

In the love story submitted, she wrote, “I jumped and Mike caught me! He is my sanctuary, my peace.”

Visitors to Old Town Warrenton’s LOVEwork are encouraged to take pictures with it and share them on the EOTW and Virginia tourism Facebook pages as well as Instagram with: #LOVEva and #LOVEwarrenton

EOTW’s mission is to foster and inspire an environment in Old Town Warrenton that enhances economic vitality while preserving the historic character of the community; and to promote a rich and appealing cultural atmosphere to live, play and do business.
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