Light the Night with Love: Carbondale celebrates Valentine’s Day weekend with interactive artway

A flaming heart glows as the sun begins to set for an evening of Light the Night with Love in Carbondale in 2021.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, downtown Carbondale prepares to blossom into an interactive celebration of love.

This year, the Carbondale Creative District and KDNK Radio join forces to intersperse the Rio Grande Trail with live performances, luminous art installations and love memos emanating from portable radios for the second annual Light the Night with Love event.

“It’s a great family event,” Carbondale Arts Operations and Development Manager Kellyn Wardell said. “I’m super excited; it’s always amazing.”

The creative tours through love are slated 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 11-12. The route begins at the intersection of North Fourth Street and the Rio Grande Trail behind Carbondale Town Hall. It then heads southeast toward the Carbondale Clay Center, ending at Main Street.

Tickets can be purchased at

This unique experience, which is the brainchild of KDNK’s Barbara Frota, offers an eclectic dive into affection and romance. Visitors can expect to encounter luminous installations created by local artists, while spectacles like a neon winter wonderland and ice luminaries gleam through the darkness.

Accompanying the spectacular sights are live performances. This includes LED performers and dancers, Wardell said.

So far, 26 artists and performers plan to participate in next week’s festivities.

Wardell said when attendees begin the tour, they’ll be given “love lenses,” which allows them to view this gallery of love in 3D.

A Bonedale Flash Mob dancer covered in mult-colored lights dances for the crowd at the Light the Night with Love event in Carbondale in 2021.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“The glasses make a heart around every little light you see,” she said. “And there’s lights everywhere.”

Adding to this litany of love lights are displays of farolitos. These little lanterns are a representation of Santa Fe culture and designed and decorated by the local community.

Wardell said Carbonale Arts and KDNK are also working with the Roaring Fork School District in creating these declarations of love.

“Students can dedicate them to someone they love,” she said. “They’ll adorn the Rio Grande artway.”

But visual experiences aren’t the only elements to watch out for next week. Instead, Light the Night with Love will also cater to euphonic desires.

KDNK is encouraging anyone to call-in and leave pre-recorded love notes on a love line. After leaving the heartfelt messages at 970-510-3250, they will be played live on-air during the event.

Finally, everyone is encouraged to dress in costumes, which can win prizes if they’re good enough. Participants are encouraged to sport lights and depict all things Cupid.

“It can be silly shoes or anything creative you can think of,” Wardell said.

The Carbondale Creative District, which is overseen by Carbondale Arts, and KDNK anticipate 600-800 visitors next weekend. Proceeds will go toward supporting artists, Carbondale Arts and KDNK — both of which are nonprofit organizations.

Meanwhile, Wardell said they’re still accepting volunteers to help with the event.

To get a taste of what Light the Night with Love will be like, Carbondale Arts will park its bus, Rosybelle, in downtown Carbondale during tonight’s First Friday event. From 5-7 p.m., folks can check out the farolitos, which will adorn the bus.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.