Portland, Maine Celebrates Valentine’s Day Bandit’s Legacy with Heartfelt Tradition

Updated: Feb. 16, 2024

Portland, Maine Celebrates Valentine’s Day Bandit’s Legacy with Heartfelt Tradition

Portland, Maine, is known for its close-knit community and quirky traditions, none more beloved than the annual appearance of the Valentine’s Day Bandit. For over 45 years, this mysterious figure adorned the city with red hearts on Valentine’s Day, spreading love and joy throughout Portland. Last year, the identity of the bandit was revealed to be Kevin Fahrman, a local resident who had been leading the effort since 1979. Despite Fahrman’s passing, the tradition continued this year, with businesses and residents alike decorating windows and walls with red hearts to honor his memory.

Fahrman’s daughter, Sierra, shared that her father’s motivation was simple: he loved Portland and wanted to bring joy to its residents. His efforts were not for recognition but out of selflessness, making the tradition even more magical. After Fahrman’s death, his family created a foundation and launched a website, BeAKevin.com, where people can download and print the iconic red hearts to continue the tradition themselves.

Portland’s Valentine’s Day Bandit tradition has always been a community effort, with Fahrman leading a team of volunteers each year. The hearts would appear overnight, adorning not just storefronts but also hard-to-reach places like church steeples and Fort Gorges in Portland Harbor. The tradition became a symbol of Portland’s unique spirit and sense of community, with businesses often keeping the hearts on display year-round as a reminder of the bandit’s love for the city.

Despite the bandit’s anonymity, Fahrman’s impact on Portland was profound. Described as funny, kind, and generous, Fahrman’s legacy lives on through the tradition he started. His wife, Patti Urban, humorously referred to herself as a Valentine’s Day widow, as Fahrman would often be too exhausted from his late-night escapades to fully enjoy the holiday.

This year, as Portlanders woke up to find the city adorned in red hearts once again, the message was clear: love and community endure. Fahrman may be gone, but his spirit lives on through the tradition he started, reminding us all of the power of kindness and love in our communities. As Portland continues to celebrate the Valentine’s Day Bandit’s legacy, one thing is certain: the hearts will keep coming, keeping Fahrman’s memory alive for years to come.

Portland Maine Rentals employees were excited to find a heart at their workplace this morning.

“What a beautiful and positive reminder that, even though Kevin has passed, his legacy, love and work are living on through others,” said Portland Maine Rentals owner, Crandall Toothaker.

“Portland is a community connected by love, so it’s not totally surprising. But it’s so heartening to see that this tradition continues.”