Jaycees made world’s largest valentine

DEL MAR — After World War II, the most active organization in the area was the San Dieguito Jaycees comprised mostly of war vets.
Every project was doable, but not surprising the Jaycees were always short on cash. They decided on a dance as a fundraiser. Not just the usual dance but a Valentine’s Day dance featuring the world’s largest valentine.
A portable hardwood basketball floor had just been completed in Bing Crosby Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and the dance was just the ticket to show it off. The giant valentine was to serve as the centerpiece. Don Armstrong who worked at Solana Lumber had access to wood, nails, paint and everything else that was needed. Chuck Ito owned a landscape nursery in Leucadia and he designed the greenery around the valentine. Comparing its size, full-grown palms were dwarfed by it.
Media hoopla about the valentine brought out a record crowd to the dance.
There was one last problem for the Jaycees. How to dispose of the valentine. It was decided to offer it as the door prize. The happy winner learned afterward that it had to be torn apart and moved within a week. No small task. It took a truck to haul it away.
By then the Jaycees were engaged in another project — the first annual frog jump jamboree for the American Cancer Society.