Following the recent success of their “Tribute to Loren Eiseley” program, the Chestnut Hill Book Festival is offering another community participation program with a Valentine’s theme.

This time the program seeks people who would like to stand up and declare their love (or its opposite) for any person, place, thing, concept or traffic jam they feel strongly about.

Originally conceived as an evening where community members would publicly read their favorite love poem or valentine aloud – ideally to their beloved – the program expanded to include love of dogs, cats, goldfish, weasels, skunks and politicians or whatever else moves the human heart.

It expanded further when the committee decided to allow cranks to speak up and wax eloquently about some things they definitely do not love.

It’s all in the spirit of fun. The community is invited to come see what turns on (or off) their friends and neighbors. Special prize to the “funniest valentine.”

The “Love for Sale” theme arises from the fact that the cost of coming to the microphone is $1 per poem, song, joke, statement, or loving smile at the world. One dollar buys one minute of love. Proceeds will go to our favorite charity, the John Story Jenks Elementary School’s reading program.

The committee needs to know how many speakers to expect. If you think you’re coming, please call or write Kate O’Neill, coordinator of the Valentine Program for the Chestnut Hill Book Festival, at 215-247-6696., or email her at

The program will take place on Wednesday, February 13, at 7 p.m. at the Chestnut Hill Hotel’s Bombay Room, 8229 Germantown Avenue. The program is free and will last about an hour. Wine and cheese will be served.

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