Thousands celebrate STL250 “Burning Love Fest”

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Thousands got to celebrate Valentine’s Day all over again in Forest Park Tuesday night.  The Burnin’ Love festival, celebrating St. Louis’ 250th birthday, was supposed to be held on February 14th, but got postponed because of bad weather.

Since St. Louis’ birthday happens to fall on February 14th or 15th, depending on who you ask, organizers decided to combine the city’s milestone birthday with Valentine’s Day. Burnin’ Love Co-Chair Kelly Weber says, “Really, it was love of St. Louis, Valentine’s Day, and we knew we would need some warmth because it is February.”

Bonfires kept crowds warm while musicians performed on a heart-shaped stage.  Then it was fireworks and a big flaming heart, all setting the stage for hundreds asking the same question: will you marry me?

Three hundred fifty people signed up to get engaged or re-engaged, which will be submitted for a world record.  Bill Oesterle had planned on popping the question at Burnin’ Love on Valentine’s Day, but when the event was postponed, he couldn’t wait.  With a smile on her face, his new fiancée recounts how it happened: “We were at a restaurant, and we had dinner, and after dinner he came over and sat next to me, and I thought, oh, something’s up, and sure enough, that’s what it was.”

Still, the couple happily came to Forest Park, to say yes all over again.  As did the Crandell’s, already married for 18 years. Chris Crandell says, “I thought that would be great, because we really love each other and we wanted to reunite our marriage.”

There was plenty of food and fun for the whole family at Burnin’ Love as well, including signing postcards for the city that’ll be put into a time capsule and opened 50 years from now, for the city’s 300th birthday.

Even though St. Louis’ 250th birthday has officially come and gone, the celebrations will continue throughout the year.