I have devoted all of My Charleston Weekend to Valentine’s celebrations over the next couple of days, but I’m mixing things up a little for y’all. Not all of these events are schmoopie-cutie-schmoopie-poopie. Some will require expanding your horizons a bit. As for the others, well, those are perfect for people who call it Singles Awareness Day and those who still have a lump of smoldering ash and coal where their heart should be.
Traditional romantic Valentine options
Sure, you’ve got your dinner, you’ve got your movie, but here are a few other ideas for you and your love this weekend.
The Joe Clarke Big Band wants you to “fall in love again” at the Valentine’s Day Concert at Forte Jazz Lounge on Friday. The 18-piece band, which has been performing locally since 1994, has prepared “a special presentation of all the best love songs the American Song Book has to offer.” 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Feb. 14; Forte Jazz Lounge, 475 King St., downtown Charleston; $25-$50; 843-637-4931, fortejazzlounge.com
I am not joking when I say that some amazing love songs came out of the 1990s. Some not-so-great stuff came out, too, but let’s focus on the former. Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” from “The Bodyguard” soundtrack (1992). “I Swear” from All-4-One (1994). “Vision of Love” from Mariah Carey (1990). "I’d Do Anything for Love” from Meat Loaf (1993). “Because You Loved Me” from Celine Dion (1996). I could go on. Charlton Singleton’s Heart of the '90s presentation at the Charleston Music Hall on Friday is sure to bring the best those years had to offer. Joining Singleton on stage will be Quiana Parler, Demetrius Doctor, James “JT” Rollerson, Mark Sterbank and Chris Williams, to name just a few. 8-11 p.m. Feb. 14; Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St., downtown Charleston; $17-$22; 843-853-2252, charlestonmusichall.com
Charleston Harbor Tours will present a special Valentine’s Day Blues & BBQ Harbor Cruise aboard the Charleston Princess on Friday, featuring the one-and-only Shrimp City Slim and a buffet from Swig & Swine. Enjoy the view of the Holy City from the Charleston Harbor as you snuggle up with your date. And yes, I dare you to reenact the Jack and Rose scene from “The Titanic” at the bow. The deck one, not the door one. 6:30 p.m. boarding, 7-9 p.m. cruise Feb. 14. City Marina, 17 Lockwood Drive, downtown Charleston; $52.95-$75; 843-722-1112, charlestonharbortours.com
While “Torchlit Boat Ride Through the Swamp” may not sound romantic at first, Cypress Gardens will make it so on Friday. Just think of it as the “Kiss the Girl” scene from “The Little Mermaid” — Sha-la-la-la-la-la, My, oh my. Sweet treats will be provided. Reservations are required, and the rides are for ages 16 and older. 6-8 p.m. Feb. 14; Cypress Gardens, 3030 Cypress Gardens Road, Moncks Corner; $30 per couple; 843-553-0515, cypressgardens.berkeleycountysc.gov
Watch your date’s eyes brighten at the “Lights of Magnolia” Chinese lantern festival, still on display at Magnolia Plantation. The large-scale installations are custom-designed, and feature an array of themed lanterns, “a fusion of historic Chinese cultural symbols and images that represent the flora and fauna of Magnolia.” The handmade, three-dimensional sculptures are displayed over nine acres of the Romantic-style gardens. 5:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday through March 15; Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, 3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston; $26 general; $11 ages 6-12; free for ages 5 and younger; 843-571-1266, lightsofmagnolia.com
Another venue for a romantic stroll is Middleton Place, as it is still the season for the guided Camellia Walks through the plantation’s original gardens, designed in 1741, which follow the symmetric principles of the master landscaper responsible for the Palace of Versailles in France, as well as through the “new” gardens of the 1950s. 11 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through ; Free with general garden admission; reservations required; 843-556-6020, middletonplace.org
Thinking outside the box (of candy)
For those of you who like to do things a little differently, here are some options to spice things up a bit.
Ax-throwing. Nothing bonds two folks together more than each one knowing that the other can over-handedly hurl a ridiculously dangerous tool into a wall like Paul Bunyan. ChuckTown Axe Throwing, attached to the front of Rusty Bull Brewing Co. in Park Circle, opened last April and is certainly keeping up with this new trend that’s sweeping the nation. Indeed, ax-throwing-bar combos are a trend. ChuckTown will have some special Valentine-themed props for their photo booth throne on Friday. You can make one-hour reservations on the website, which reminds you to wear close-toed shoes. They are “absolutely required.” Noon-11 p.m. Feb. 14; ChuckTown Axe Throwing, 3005 W. Montague Ave., North Charleston; $25; 843-607-0420, chucktownaxethrowing.com
Ax-throwing AND putt-putt. The former Blackbeard’s Cove in Mount Pleasant has been revamped, now known as Charleston Fun Park. In addition to arcade games, go-karts, bumper cars and virtual reality attractions, y’all can play miniature golf and get in some ax-throwing. With the ownership change, you now can get beer or wine to go with your Dippin’ Dots at the concession stand. Friday hours: noon-11 p.m.; Charleston Fun Park, 3255 N. Highway 17, Mount Pleasant; Prices vary per activity; 843-971-1223, charlestonfunpark.com
Ropes and harnesses, all rated G, of course. Wild Blue Ropes is offering a Valentine’s Date Night Climb on Friday, encouraging duos to tap into their competitive sides on an outdoorsy date, an adventure on the Challenge Course. BYOB for after the climb and “cuddle around the bonfire.” Get passes in advance of arrival and note that you have to sign a waiver. Nothing says “great time” more than signing a liability waiver. 5-9 p.m. Feb. 14; Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park, 1595 Highland Ave., James Island; $60 per couple; 843-225-1555, wildblueropes.com
For those perfectly comfortable around your mate (and others), the Cupid’s Undie Run starts at Loggerhead’s on Folly Beach on Saturday. You can run around in your unmentionables, all for a good cause. The fun run is a fundraiser for bringing awareness to neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body, and for research through the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF). Noon-4 p.m. Feb. 15; Loggerhead’s Beach Grill, 123 W. Ashley Ave., Folly Beach; $40; my.cupids.org/cur/city/charleston
Anti-Valentine: This day is stupid
If the lovebird thing isn’t your deal this year, or you think Valentine’s Day is just a capitalist corporate conspiracy put forth by the greeting card, chocolate and florist industries, or you got burned recently and you’re not over it yet, I’ve got just the things for you.
The annual Jilted Lovers Party at The Cocktail Club on Thursday will have drink specials and live music from Greg Keys & Company, but the real draw is the opportunity to win a $250 prize for the best (worst) jilted lover’s story. 8 p.m. Feb. 13; The Cocktail Club, 479 King St., downtown Charleston; 843-724-9411, bit.ly/2vrS1Fb
Bay Street Biergarten and The Break Room: Charleston are “calling all bitter and broken-hearted people” to destroy your ex’s pictures and belongings in the Smash Tent/Mobile Rage Room at Friday’s Bitterness Bash. DJ SCrib will spin “the best single and independent anthems” to jam to along with some specialty drinks, shotskis and more. 8-11 p.m. Feb. 14; Bay Street Biergarten, 549 East Bay St., downtown Charleston; 843-266-2437, bit.ly/2UFAy6Z
Ink 'N' Ivy will host its Black Valentine: Anti-Valentine’s Day Party on Friday, for singles to “celebrate everything that ISN’T love” with a “non-emotional night” including drink specials, balloons, raffles, prizes and more, an alternative to “staying in and watching a Lifetime movie of the week.” 9 p.m. Feb. 14; Ink 'N' Ivy, 565 King St., downtown Charleston; 843-872-5466, bit.ly/3buium6
According to Fatty’s Beer Works, “Valentine’s Day is lame. Drink with us instead” at its Lonely Hearts and Anti-Valentine’s Day Party on Friday. If you wear black, you’ll get half off your first pint. 4-10 p.m. Feb. 14; Fatty’s Beer Works, 1436 Meeting St., downtown Charleston; 843-974-5330, bit.ly/2ShEhpB
Back to the ax-throwing, Palmetto Brewing and Blade & Bull Axe Throwing will host Axes and Exes on Singles Awareness Day on Friday, featuring music from Zoe Child and Bag O’ Tricks featuring Laura Thurston. 4-11 p.m. Feb. 14; Palmetto Brewing Co., 289 Huger St., downtown Charleston; 843-937-0903, bit.ly/31Mhq8T