With Valentine’s Day approaching, couples lock their love at Kansas City’s Old Red Bridge

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Friday was the unofficial kick-off of what’s become a growing tradition on Kansas City’s south side.

There are more than 2,000 locks placed along Old Red Bridge in Minor Park, each has it’s own love story behind it.

One lock had the name "Rusty" on it, many more locks just are rusty. People have different reasons for wanting to lock their love. Some are new relationships, others do it to commemorate anniversaries. But Sharron and Fred Campbell are proof that even if the etchings on them begin to fade, love doesn’t have to.

When asked what the secret was to their nearly 54-year marriage, the couple said in unison, "teamwork, a lot of teamwork.”

“I think more people need to do this, keep things going in their life for things that mean something,” Fred Campbell said.

Carlos Mena thought he and his wife were going to one of the kids' doctors appointments Friday. His wife took them to the bridge instead.

“I told him to reach under the seat and pull out the bag and it was a gift bag with our lock in it,” Laci Mena said.

“I had never heard of it myself. I’d like to say it’s unique but as you can see there’s many locks here already,” Carlos Mena said.

At last count there are nearly 2,500. Kansas City Parks and Recreation Marketing and Events Coordinator Heidi Downer came up with the idea as a way to give new life to the old red bridge when it was shut down to traffic in 2012 and replaced by modern construction.

“It’s an amazing feeling to me, I love it and to know that we made this happen, makes me very proud,” Downer said.

One of the locks on the bridge reads "Our love is an anchor,” but the Campbells say it not the kind that weighs you down.

“I hope it’s a remembrance and every time they come by here they think to themselves, there’s a reason why we did that and remind themselves there’s still love and romance in life, no matter how old you get," Sharron Cambpell said.

The bridge will be lit up Friday and Saturday nights through February 18th so people on a Valentine’s date can lock in their love.

Starting Saturday, the parks department will work with Heartland Conservation Alliance to provide a box along the bridge for people to deposit their keys instead of tossing them into the river. The group plans to melt the keys in order to create a sculpture to benefit the monarch butterfly.