Commissioner of romance?

This column was printed in the Niagara Gazette on Sunday, Feb. 6.

Since it’s only eight days away I’m going to shamelessly use the upcoming holiday of love to reiterate an idea I’ve presented in these pages before.

I’d like to see Valentine’s Day become a citywide celebration in Niagara Falls. I’d like romance to be restored to the “Romance Capital of the World.” Can’t you just see it? A way to capitalize on the title we already hold. Bring love back to the city. Fall for your Valentine once more in Niagara Falls. Picture this: A giant celebration of love. There might be a romance convention featuring vendors, seminars and artwork based on romance, including an exhibit by artist Trisha Romance. Romance author Danielle Steele can be one of the many love-centered guest speakers, and there can be seminars on how to meet that special person or relationship enhancement and cooking classes on how to create the most romantic meals.

I’ve always imagined a group wedding under a lovely white tent next to the falls on Valentine’s Day for people who want to renew their vows or make fresh ones. Then I imagined pretty spots all over the downtown where couples can choose to say “I do.” Maybe an ice castle. There could be carriage rides in snow and sparkling white lights everywhere.
I imagine a romantic pathway made of bricks purchased by people who have tied the knot in our city. There could be a public registry of all the people who have been married in Niagara Falls since record keeping began. I know I would visit a romance museum featuring exhibits on the world’s greatest lovers with silly, fun touchy feely exhibits. And every year, there’d be a selection of the King and Queen of Hearts — two people with the best love story.
We know that people come from all over the world to be married in Niagara Falls. We should be treating them better. We should be sharing in their happiness. Local businesses should give discounts to newlyweds. There should be special
tables and/or treatment in local restaurants for those producing a brand new marriage licenses. The rose should be our city flower.

We can reclaim our title as the romance capital of the world. We just have to reach out and grab it.
We need somebody like that Chicken Wing King in Buffalo. When Drew Cerza decided that Buffalo needed a chicken wing festival he pursued the idea until it became a huge success. We need somebody like that guy. Someone with romance in their soul. That somebody could be the self declared commissioner of romance. And, if there were actually a campaign to restore romance to the city, and if there actually were a commissioner of romance, I would imagine there would be travel writers and international reporters interested in hearing about that.

I’ve told this idea to several city officials and nobody has really embraced it yet. Except for former Niagara County republican chairman, Henry Wojtaszek, who remembered my plan after I told him about it and, the last time I saw him, asked me how it was going. I’ve always liked that about Henry.

But, now the idea is looking for a new champion, someone with romance in their soul. Besides me. Send me your ideas and support and maybe we can stir up something.

Wouldn’t it be funny if the Beatles were right and really, all we needed was love.

Contact columnist Michele DeLuca at 282-2311, ext. 2263 or email her at