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Love Locks find their way to Hastings

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Love Locks are gathering on the pedestrian bridge over the Vermillion River in Hastings' Vermillion Falls Park. (Star Gazette photo by Noura Elmanssy)2 / 2

Paris, France; Rome, Italy and Hastings, Minnesota all have something in common now: A love locks bridge. The locks, first made popular on the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris, have now found their way to the Vermillion Falls Park’s walking bridge.

The bridge that spans the Vermillion River Gorge is trickling with locks that have dates and names from couples and loved ones in an attempt to recreate the popular trend.

“I’ve always read about it in Paris, I’ve always seen pictures on TV,” said Cory Likes, operations and maintenance supervisor for the city of Hastings parks. “It’s very intriguing and I thought it was very cute and very neat to see that actually in the city of Hastings.”

While Paris remains the most recognizable for the trend, there are more cities around the world that can attest to the popular fad, including Rome.

How did the trend begin?

Love locks became a trend in the early 2000s in cities across the world, only representing that love comes in all languages.

While there are multiple stories dating back to beyond 100 years ago that are supposedly the reason people find significance in the locks, Rome’s start was a little different. In fact, thanks to a book, people went crazy for padlocks.

In the book, “Ho Voglia di Te” (I Want You), the Italian author Federico Moccia has his two love interests attaching a lock onto the Ponte Milvio bridge in Rome, Italy. The lock is supposed to represent eternal love.

Since the book’s release in 2006, young Italians have been mimicking the same gesture, adding to the hype of a young couple’s love.

What are the dangers?

As of 2015, Paris officials had to remove the panels of the Pont Des Arts bridge, which, according to the New York Times, had around 45 tons of various locks professing people’s love to one another.

While a bunch of keys remain lonely at the bottom of some rivers, it is fair to ask, what are the risks of this trend?

The strain that it puts on a bridges infrastructure is the biggest and most prominent risk. While bridges are built to be very sturdy, sometimes supporting the weight of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people, most architectural designs are not built to withstand that amount of human weight along with the weight of thousands of locks.

What about Hastings?

According to Likes, there is no plan to remove any of the locks from the Vermillion River bridge – as long as they don’t become a problem.

He said they are quite fun to look at, especially watching them accumulate over time and going from thinking that they were just a couple of bike locks to becoming a part of an international trend.

While there are several places around the world that are doing the same, it’s nice to see that Hastings has caught along.

But Likes brings up a valid point:

“What happens when so-and-so breaks up?”