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It makes people feel good and want to buy each other food and sweaters and heart necklaces. Love inspires people to write songs and to get tattoos and to do other wonderfully outrageous things. And love reminds us to be kinder, better, gentler. My point: Love does right by us. It’s only fair that we give it a day all its own.
So this Valentine’s Day, whether you’re single or not, in love or not, or fond of heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolate or not, let’s make love feel special. There are plenty of events for couples, friends, all the single ladies, and all the dogs and dog lovers, beer lovers, wine lovers, film lovers, and even those who hate love altogether. So pick one. And this year, let love know how you really feel about it.
6:30-7:30 pm Thursday Rescheduled to 4-5:30 pm Sunday | Planet Dog Company Store, Portland | $5 donation | www.planetdog.com
Your dog loves you. I mean reeeeally loves you. But it’s hard for him to get the words out. So he’ll resort to expressing his love the way dogs do best: With intense and lavish face licking. Those canine kisses can actually win you and your pooch prizes during the Dog Kissing Contest. The evening includes free treats for dogs and humans and beer and wine. Proceeds benefit the Planet Dog Foundation. // More info
10 am-5pm Thursday and Friday | 1 Union St., Portland | www.meca.edu
Hallmark does a fine job. Really, its cards and made-for-TV movies always make me cry. But the art, cards and paper goods at the Sweet Art Pop-Up Shop will be unique tokens of affection – cards you can’t find in every drug store. The pop-up shop is only open a few days and hours in honor of Valentine’s Day, and the art inside is made (with love, I’m sure) by ten illustration students from Maine College of Art. // More info
7:30 pm Friday | Vena’s Fizz House, Portland | Free | www.facebook.com/venasfizzhouse
Featuring Maine Squeeze Accordion Ensemble! The band starts at 7:30 pm and dmission is free. They’ll also be serving Maine Pie line Pie and their own special Love Potion fizzes. // More info
8 pm Friday | SPACE Gallery, Portland | $8 in adv/$10 day of | www.space538.org
For the love of words – and good-natured writer ribbing! This Literary Death Match is themed “We Love Literature,” but don’t let the phrasing trick you into thinking LDM is some sort of writerly love fest. It is, kinda, but mostly it’s a chance to hear local writers read from their work and then local judges poke fun at them. It’s really sweet! And hilarious. Local authors Debra Spark, Travis Baker and Kathryn Miles will feel the love this time around. // More info
1-3 pm Friday | Saddleback Mountain, Rangeley | Lift ticket, season pass | www.saddlebackmaine.com
So you got hitched. Maybe it was last month or last year or back in 1967. This Valentine’s Day, let the ol’ ball and chain know how glad you are to have gotten hitched by getting hitched again, on the top of a mountain. It’s free to renew your vows in front of Officiant JoAnne Taylor at the top of Kennebago Quad at Saddleback (although you will need a lift ticket or season pass to board the lift). And the view up there? It’s one you could fall in love with. // More info
Friday-Sunday | Statewide | Many activities free | greatmaineoutdoorweekend.org
Maine is easy to fall in love with: Its mountains and tree-lined hikes (and yes, even its snowy winter). It makes sense that this year’s Great Maine Outdoor Weekend falls on Valentine’s weekend. There’s plenty of outdoor events going on around the state, including a Valentine’s Full Moon Hike and Ski at Pisgah Hill Preserve in New Gloucester, a Moonlit Snowshoe in Pownal, a Sunset Sweetheart Hike at Bald Pate Mountain in Bridgton and more.
9 pm Friday (doors at 8 pm) | Port City Music Hall, Portland | $10 in adv/$12 at the door | www.facebook.com
“This year, let the passion of St. Valentine overtake you, let it overtake you with funk.” The event description pretty much sums it up, but I’ll add that, like any prom, you should dress to impress and be prepared to get down to the music of Model Airplane. Also, your mom says you can stay out as late as you want. // More info
5-7 pm Friday | Elements: Books Coffee Beer, Biddeford | www.elementsbookscoffeebeer.com
Does any other beverage say “love” like wine does? (Answer: No.) A Valentine’s Day wine tasting is perfect for the lovers and the wine lovers. And the good people of Mariner Beverages will walk tasters through a handful of wines, and perhaps you’ll fall in love with some fine Malbec and live happily ever after. // More info
Noon-5 pm Friday | Rising Tide Brewing, Portland | $50 | www.risingtidebrewing.com
All of Valentine’s classics, plus beer. T aste the return of Rising Tide’s Calcutta Cutter Imperial IPA, enjoy chocolate truffle and beer pairings, make your own valentines and even get a chair massage from Bee Well Massage. Available 4-7 pm Thursday and 12-5 pm Friday. Get a box of 4 truffles,a gift certificate for 30-minute massage, and 2 stemmed Rising Tide beer glasses along with a 22 oz. beer. // More info
4-7 pm Friday | Allagash Brewery, Portland | $15 | www.allagash.com
A tasting of 4 rare beers: Old HLT, Midnight Brett, Mattina Rosa, and Red Howes, and a delightful chocolatey treat to pair with each from two local chocolatiers: La Creme Chocolate and Haven’s Candies. You can also get crafty and make your sweetie a valentine, or immortalize your love in our photo booth– both for small donations that also go to the Heart Association.
// More info
6 pm Friday | Ballroom, Fireside Inn & Suites, Portland | $50 or $95 per couple | firesideinnportland.com
Some folks have love all figured out. Then there’s the rest of us. During this dinner theater evening, you’ll get quite the education on dating, mating and marriage. Miss Abigail is sure to teach you a few things. Plus, there’s food! // More info
6:30 pm Friday | Washburn Norlands Living History Center, Livermore | $20 | www.norlands.org
Find a husband and have babies. That was a woman’s sole mission not that long ago. And while we’re glad to have moved on from there, the stories of those 19th century women are still worth hearing. During this presentation, you’ll enjoy a heritage dinner and then share the company of Patty Washburn and her three daughters, who’ll share their stories about finding love and building a family. // More info
7 pm Friday | Mayo Street Arts Center, Portland | $10 | mayostreetarts.org
This award-winning play by V-Day founder and playwrite Eve Ensler celebrates women’s sexuality and strength. Based on Ensler’s interviews with more than 200 women, the piece is funny, poignant, dark, heartbreaking, and hilarious. And this performance is part of the world-wide V-Day campaign to end violence against women. // More info
7:30 pm Friday | Cosmopolitan Club, Bath | $15, $25 couple | www.chocolatechurcharts.org
Today, this play might be called “love emails” or, simply, “texts,” but once upon a time people wrote each other letters. By hand! “Love Letters” chronicles Melissa and Andy, who form a bond early in life and stay in touch despite their different paths. And after, you might just want to write a love letter of your own. By hand! // More info
8 pm Friday | Frontier Cafe, Cinema & Gallery, Brunswick | $20 in adv/$25 day of | www.explorefrontier.com
A Band Beyond Description is a Grateful Dead cover band, but they’ve also been caught playing the music of the Allman Brothers, The Band and Bob Dylan. They’re hosting a Valentine’s evening that’s sure to fill your heart with love. And Frontier is a great place to eat and drink, too. // More info
8 pm Friday | North Windham Union Church, Windham | $25 | www.valentineshowinwindham.com
For the drama-lover in your life (perhaps it’s you and you’re often caught singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” in the shower more than once), it’s an evening of Broadway’s best love songs. And if your love song lover also happens to be a kid, there’s an abbreviated children’s matinee performance at 2 pm Saturday. // More info
9:30 am-12:30 pm Saturday | $12, $5 for kids 10 and under | Parsonsfield Seminary, Parsonsfield | www.parsonsfieldseminary.org
The Parsonsfield Seminary always hosts an amazing haunted event near Halloween. But all the ghosts and specters promise to stay away for the Valentine Brunch. You will, however, be confronted with hand-carved ham, eggs, homemade corned beef hash and Belgian waffles. // More info
5 pm Saturday | Happy Wheels Skate Center, Portland | $7 | www.facebook.com
Some say love with a hug. Some say love with a hip check. Maine Roller Derby is once again celebrating Valentine’s Day (and their season opener) with a Hate the Love bout at Happy Wheels. The Calamity Janes will be taking on Quebec, and no doubt showing them a thing or two, and then everyone will head over to the after party, because even competitors should have drink together on Valentine’s Day. // More info
6-7:30 pm Sunday | SPACE Gallery, Portland | Free | localmusclemovers.com
Now in its third year, the festival showcases short local films. The films used to be about love (awww!) but this year organizers are throwing boundaries out the window and soliciting films about…anything! There’s no cover, and while couples are welcome, it’s also a great Valentine’s Day weekend event for groups, individuals, human hybrids, robots with feelings, and “all the women who independent.” // More info
You don’t need to look far to create the perfect Valentine’s Day. Portland Buy Local has created a handy guide for all your Valentine’s Day gift-giving needs, including specialty blends from Coffee by Design, beer tasting at Rising Tide Brewing, pie from Maine Pie Line, handmade felt hearts from Waterlily and more.