Tyson said that the identity of the bandits is unknown and it’s unclear how many hearts have been put up around the city.
One would rather be amused to know that Portland has Valentine’s Day bandits who place hundreds of red paper hearts in different parts of the city every year. And Tuesday was no different. They placed these banners on notable landmarks. A large banner was put up outside the Portland Public Library and another was on the top of the construction site, which is said to become the tallest building in Maine, as reported by the Maine public. There were paper hearts spotted in other places in the city, like random blocks along with Congress Street, in the Old Port and down Commercial Street on the waterfront.
The tradition has been going on since the 1970s. Betsy Reinsborough of Yarmouth said that it has become an annual tradition for the people in Portland to roam around and admire the work of the bandits on Valentine’s Day. "I don't know how they do it," she said. "But it's got to be more than one person, and I feel like the person who did it 50 years ago would probably not be physically able to do it all themselves anymore. So, it's got to be more than one...not the original person."
Cary Tyson, executive director of Portland Downtown, said that the Valentine’s Day bandits have earned “creative access” to places in the city over the years, including to spots that are not reachable by one person. When asked how they do it all in one night, "How Santa get all the presents under the tree? It's a little bit of magic. A little bit of fairy dust," he responded.
Tyson added that the tradition in Portland has extended to other nearby cities. He said that the identity of the Valentine’s Day bandits is unknown and it’s unclear how many hearts have been put up around the city. Reportedly, in 2020, as the number of COVID-19 cases increased, the bandit also put up giant heart flags in April to thank the health workers. The flags were hung at Northern Light Mercy Hospital and Maine Medical Center, according to WMTV.
Talking about Valentine’s Day, a restaurant has a special offer for couples who propose in their restaurant. Basically, from February 10 to 16, couples who record their marriage proposal at any Cracker Barrel location nationwide and post it publicly on Instagram will get a chance to win free Cracker Barrel for a year. And for people to enter the contest, they have to add hashtags #ISaidYesAtCrackerBarrel and #Contest and tag the restaurant’s official Instagram account (@crackerbarrel) in their wedding proposal.
Jennifer Tate, Cracker Barrel’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a press release: “Cracker Barrel isn’t just a restaurant, it’s a place where care is the main ingredient—from the homestyle food we serve to our warm, welcoming atmosphere—guests can expect the same familiarity and comfort of feeling cared for in everything we do, every time they visit. This Valentine’s Day, we want to extend our main ingredient even more by inviting guests to show the person they care about most how truly special they are.”
If one doesn’t wish to share an intimate moment with strangers, Cracker Barrel also has other deals for anyone. From February 10 to 14, couples can choose any two entrees from a select Valentine’s Day menu and get the chance to receive one free dessert to share, including Double-Fudge Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake or Biscuit Beignets.