Six ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the area

Valentine's Day dining

Chocolates, flowers and cards aren’t the only ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

The Gainesville area offers several alternatives to jazz up Valentine’s Day, featuring live music, art and dancing and even a drunken take on some famous star-crossed lovers.

Here are six events – many of them free or inexpensive — to add some local flare to your favorite Valentine’s standards.

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Valentine’s Market

Whether you’re looking for a gift for that special someone or want to enjoy a lovely day with your closest pals, The AUK Market is the perfect spot.

Enjoy an afternoon with over 25 local vendors featuring handmade crafts, art, plants, and much more. The Valentine’s Market offers food, coffee and tasty drinks.

The event is on Feb. 11th at The AUK Market, 2031 NW 6th St., from noon – 5 p.m.

A Celebration of Valentine’s Day

Sip sparkling mimosas with your loved one while guitarist, singer, and songwriter Eric Diamond performs live music for the afternoon.

Artisans’ Guild Gallery will host the celebration Sunday, Feb. 12th, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 224 NW 2nd Ave.

Visitors will have the chance to enjoy refreshments and treats while strolling through the gallery that features work from local artists, including paintings, pottery, glass, and jewelry.

UF Century Tower
Shutterstock UF’s Carillon Studio will present a Valentine’s Day concert. Event goers are advised to position their seats at least 100 feet from Century Tower to optimize their listening experience.

Drunk Romeo and Juliet at High Dive

Do you want a break from the “normal” Valentine’s Day festivities this year or maybe looking for a Valentine’s alternative to the romance-heavy holiday?

If so, the High Dive, 210 SW 2nd Ave., features local Gainesville players in the reenactment of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, Romeo and Juliet, on Feb. 13th at 7 p.m.

However, this production has a minor twist—one of the actors will be drunk.

Enjoy a night of quirky fun, laughter, live theatre and games. Don’t stress over buying an expensive dinner. Tickets for the show range from $9-$12 per person and can be purchased here.

Valentine’s Day Double-Feature Movie Night

Get in the mood, or at least in the romantic comedy mood, watching two classic romantic comedies back-to-back under the stars.

Tioga Town Center, 13085 SW 1 Lane,  is hosting the Valentine’s double feature with “Sleepless in Seattle” from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by “Hitch” from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets (and some popcorn and chocolates) and hang out for the evening.

The event is free and open to the public.

Carillon Studio Recital

Another free option for the holiday evening is the Carillon Studio Recital on Feb. 14th from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at Century Tower Carillon, 375 Newell Drive.

Members of the UF Carillon studio will perform a Valentine’s Day recital for the public on the 61-bell carillon.

A Night in New Orleans

Experience an evening in New Orleans for Valentine’s Day.

Sweetwater Branch Inn will host the event on Feb. 14th from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at 625 E. University Ave. It will feature hors d’oeuvres, dinner, desserts and drinks, with live music and dancing in McKenzie Hall.

The evening costs $99 per person, and event goers can reserve their spot by buying $10 per guest tickets through Eventbrite here. The balance is due at the event, and ticket purchases include appetizers, dinner, dessert, and wine or beer.

The menu features jambalaya with NOLA rice, crawfish etouffee, brown sugar salmon, or vegan jambalaya with seafood-style mushrooms.

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