Show some love

Heart Bombing event to take place in downtown Lewistown Feb. 18

LEWISTOWN — Most people focus on their spouse, significant other or family members for Valentine’s Day, but the Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau and East End Coffee Co. are trying to turn some of that love and attention toward two neglected downtown Lewistown buildings.

“We’re putting a bit of a spin on a program promoted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation,” Jenny Barron Landis, executive director of the Visitors Bureau, said. “While both of our selected sites are old and historic in the framework of our town, we want the attention brought to what each of these building could be.”

A Heart Bombing event will be held on Feb. 18 at East End Coffee Company, 18 E Market St. Beginning at 1 p.m., participants will start by creating Valentines — signs showing their appreciation, concern and hope — for each building.

At 2 p.m., the group will walk one block to 1 Valley St., where they’ll “bomb” the sight by holding signs for photos, and then proceed to 18 N. Brown St. to do the same thing.

“The word bombing sounds so aggressive,” said event co-organizer and East End Coffee Co. co-owner, Ryan Cherry. “But in most places, it’s about the element of surprise. We’re not interested in that, since our goal is to get as many people talking about the potential of neglected buildings everywhere.”

Once the event is over, Landis and Cherry will assemble packets of information to send to the buildings’ out-of-town owners. A letter, stressing the building’s neglected state as well as the potential the group sees in it, will be sent along with photos and a Valentine or two.

“It doesn’t make sense to do all of this if the owners never know it happened,” Cherry said. “Even if we can’t encourage movement on these individual properties, maybe we can open the eyes of a few locals. There’s a lot of great stuff happening in this community and we can keep it rolling by getting more people talking about the possibilities.”