Lovelock’s Lovers Lock locks up hearts of lovestruck visitors
One of Northern Nevada’s offbeat tourist attractions is getting ready for an expansion.
“Lovers Lock” has drawn so many lovers from across the nation to “lock their love” outside the Pershing County Courthouse at Lovelock that its chains are nearly full.
The Nevada Commission on Tourism this spring approved a $15,500 grant to the Pershing County Chamber of Commerce to buy chains and posts to expand Lovers Lock Plaza.
The plaza draws on an ancient custom in China’s Yellow Mountains in which lovers snap a lock onto a chain and throw away the key, symbolically uniting their love for eternity.
While Lovelock doesn’t have any significant ties to Chinese history, it has the right name for the tourism promotion, which is nearing its 10th year.
The last time that Chamber Manager Beth Reid counted, about 4,850 locks had been snapped onto the chains in the heart of downtown. She figures the number has grown to about 5,000 by now.
“The chains are getting pretty filled,” Reid says.
She says visitors read about the “Lock Your Love” promotion in guidebooks and duck off Interstate 80 for a few minutes. The attraction has drawn coverage from publications worldwide.
And tour buses, Reid says, commonly make a stop to allow visitors to buy a lock from the chamber office or one of the nearby businesses that sell them, and take a few photos while they lock their love.
Dozens of visitors have uploaded photos and told the stories of their love on “Loverslock.com.” Some have used the site to send a love letter via e-mail. And a few have followed the instructions on the Web site to plan a wedding in Lovelock, which bills itself on the site as a “romantic mecca.”
Even if they’re not planning an expensive wedding, Reid says visitors to the attraction are spending more than a couple of bucks on a lock.
She says visitors — including the big batches of them on tour buses — are providing a welcome shot of fresh business for stores such as Temptations, a nearby sweets-and-coffee shop.
The state grant to expand Lovers Lock was part of a package of $200,000 in matching grants that the State Commission on Tourism approved this spring for organizations in rural areas of the state.