California resident starts 'sweet' scavenger hunt, 100 Valentine's Day hearts on display across city

Scavenger hunt prizes have even been provided by small businesses, including Pints of Joy, Dishdash and Leigh's Favorite Books.
SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- There is a lot of extra love being seen and felt across the northern California city of Sunnyvale.

On display, and just in time for Valentine's Day, one neighbor has launched the 'Find Love in Sunnyvale' scavenger hunt.

The resident and local artist behind the idea asked to be identified only as Winnie.

Over the pandemic, Winnie's festive public displays have become neighborhood favorites, and for Valentine's Day, she decided to share the love.

"I had this kind of dream of, 'Why don't we get a whole bunch of people to put these Valentine's candy hearts in their yards,'" she told our sister station ABC7 News.

So, Winnie posted to social media and heard back from 100 people willing to host a heart.

On Friday, while preparing to interview Winnie, residents Elaine West and Rohit Mitra stopped to comment on her Valentine's display. The three had never met before.

"I pass it on my way to work. We pass it when we're going to Downtown Sunnyvale," West shared. "It just reminds us of our neighbors and bringing us joy. Especially during COVID, it's been wonderful."

Another resident, 7-year-old Hailey Nitschke explained what she enjoys most about the hearts on display.

"It's really fun to go on walks and try to find them all around the neighborhood," she said. "And see where they put them."

Mitra told ABC7 News, "It's nice to see something out here where it kinda brings people together. People come for photo ops, stuff like that."

And that's the idea. Winnie said people are encouraged to snap a picture and post it to Facebook or Instagram using #LoveSunnyvale.

Scavenger hunt prizes have been provided by small businesses in Sunnyvale including Pints of Joy, Dishdash and Leigh's Favorite Books.

Gift cards from those businesses will go to winners in three categories, including to the person who finds the most hearts, has the most creative post, and the last winner will be chosen at random.

"There's some pretty serious contenders out there right now," Winnie shared. "Including the Mayor of Sunnyvale, Larry Klein. He and his dog Buddy, they have found, I don't know how many by now."

Each heart was hand delivered and installed by Winnie's friends. On Friday, she thanked Val, Chris, Frankie, Stacy and Katy.

Each heart is also a reminder that even when the pandemic demands distance, a little love can bring us together.

"Being able to look for the hearts around the community and get excited about it- and the kids are excited too," resident Stacy Nitschke told ABC7 News. "We'll be somewhere in a totally different part of Sunnyvale, and they'll see a heart and say, 'OH! THERE'S A HEART!' So, we know it's all of the community, all of the city."

Stacy is one of the volunteers that helped Winnie get the hearts to others.

While a majority of the hearts being displayed were purchased, Winnie said artists with the Sunnyvale Art Club hand-painted special hearts for the scavenger hunt.

"Beyond the scavenger hunt, I really hope that everyone feels loved during these difficult times," Winnie shared.

The festive scavenger hunt wraps up on Monday, Valentine's Day. Winnie said she's looking forward to then potentially taking on St. Patrick's Day.

Go here for more information on the "Find Love in Sunnyvale" scavenger hunt.

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