Who needs heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and flowers this year?
Shelly Blackburn and the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau have another option Feb. 11 — buy a love lock and throw away the key.
“We’re going to have an engraver on site at the visitors center,” said Blackburn, of a special event designed to highlight the new Savannah Rapids Love Locks sculpture near the Augusta Canal Headgates in Columbia County.
For about a decade, people have been putting locks on the bridge, but a sculpture was designed and set in place last fall to continue the tradition in a way that doesn’t add any more weight to the bridge.
The sculpture has a practical purpose as well as fitting the aesthetic of the park, she said.
“It’s such a romantic place on its own,” she said.
There wasn’t a lot of fanfare when the sculpture was installed, so this will serve as a way to highlight it as well as create a lifelong memory.
The engraver will be on site from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Couples can bring their own locks for engraving or they can purchase heart-shaped locks in advance to place on that structure that day. The locks come in four different colors – light pink, rose pink, red and purple. The cost is $10 if people have their own lock and $20 if they purchase a lock for engraving.
In December, Brides Magazine updated a previous article on the tradition of Love Locks, tracing the concept to a sad tale of World War I-era Serbia. Nada and Relja were a couple who were separated by the war. Nada reportedly died of a broken heart after Relja fell in love with another woman. After hearing the story, the women of the Serbian village they lived in began inscribing their names as well as the names of their significant others and placing them on the bridge where the couple once met.
The story was continued in the 2006 Italian novel Ho Voglia di Te (I Want You) by Federico Moccia. A couple adds a lock to Rome’s Ponte Milvio Bridge as a declaration of their “unbreakable” love.
The article lists 20 love lock bridges around the world. The local bridge comes in at 15 joining international locations such I Punda Love Heart in Willemstad, Curacao; Pont Des Art in Paris; Makartsteg Bridge, Salzburg, Austria, and the bridge that reportedly started the trend Most Ljubavi, Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia.
Blackburn said there are no plans to remove any of the locks that have already been placed on the bridge.
Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subsribe to the newsletter here.