This weekend offers sweet selection of events

At a recent Francis Marion Cleanup, volunteer Nancy Myder picks up one of dozens of plastic water bottles among the trash on Hoover Road in the Francis Marion National Forest.

This weekend features the proverbial potpourri of events, nothing dominates but the combination and diversity of activities on the first full weekend of February is pretty sweet.

What better way to show some love to the Lowcountry, not to mention spend a mid-winter morning in the woods, than by participating in the Francis Marion National Forest Cleanup, organized by Palmetto Pride and the Forest Service.

The cleanup, which will focus on litter and illegal dump sites throughout the 260,000-acre forest, will be held 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.

Volunteers, who will be assigned to designated areas throughout the forest, should meet at the Forest Service office, 2967 Steed Creek Road, in Huger. All cleanup supplies will be provided, as well as a cookout lunch.

The cleanup is ideal for families, service learning clubs, school and church groups, and outdoor enthusiasts. Volunteers need to dress appropriately for the weather. Sturdy shoes and long pants are encouraged.

Since 2003, more than 1,650 volunteers have removed approximately 216 tons of trash from the forest. Those interested in participating should contact Scott Morgan at 877-725-7733 or smorgan@palmettopride.org.

Still in the forest, Mount Pleasant Velo starts its first of six monthly Swamp Fox Gravel Grind group bike rides at 8 a.m. Saturday, starting from the shopping center at the corner of Cainhoy and Clements Ferry roads.

“Gravel grinding” involves riding sturdier road bikes with larger tires on unpaved and gravel roads.

Subsequent group rides will be at 8 a.m. March 8, April 12, May 10, June 14, July 12 and Aug. 9. Distances will be between 40 and 60 miles. Cyclists must bring their own food and beverages.

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For those wanting a less strenuous, more urban cycling experience, consider the “Anyone in a Dress” bike ride at 5 p.m. Friday, starting at the Upper Deck Tavern on the second floor of the building on 353 King St.

“It is time ... to prove, once and for all, that it is possible to ride a bike in a dress,” says the event’s Facebook page, created by Sylvie Baele. And yes, guys who are willing to wear dresses are encouraged to ride.

“This is a social ride! We will meet at Upper Deck for happy hour then hit up a few other spots, several of which have specials for bike riders: Dusko, The Alley, Bay Street Biergarten and Taco Boy. We’ll end at Royal American where there will be some great live music starting around 9 p.m. Cover is $5, so stay and hang out.”

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Those who are into, or want to learn more about, the “circus arts” will have some opportunities this weekend.

Charleston Community Yoga on Savannah Highway will host First Friday Acro Yoga and Wine with Sally Newman at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The workshop will focus on beginner and intermediate flow for basic poses. Included in the $15 fee is a glass of wine.

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At Aerial Fit Circus Building, 1045 5th Ave., in West Ashley, long-time professional aerialist and acrobat Christine Van Loo will be offering her expertise to locals.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based Van Loo is in town to perform with Cirque de la Symphonie at the North Charleston POPS! program at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center.

Van Loo will be at Aerial Fit at 6 p.m. Friday for a meet-and-greet. From 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, she will conduct a “Performance Perfection Workshop.” The fee is $75. She’ll be available for private lessons Friday evening and Sunday morning.

Jordan Anderson, co-founder of Aerial Fit, says hosting visiting teachers is a great way to build the circus community in the Charleston area.

“Last year, we reached out to two Spoleto performers (Gravity & Other Myths and Ilona Jantii) while they were in town and ended up hosting both of them for events at our space,” says Anderson, noting other appearances by well-known aerial teachers.

http://aerialfit.com/

One of February’s running traditions in Charleston also takes place Saturday with the 13th Save the Light Half Marathon and 5K at 8:30 a.m. on Folly Beach.

The fees are $50 for the half and $30 for the 5K and includes a long-sleeved T-shirt and a poster featuring a stunning photograph of the lighthouse by local photographer Chuck Hooker.

Last year’s event drew 284 finishers in the half and 200 in the 5K.

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Reach David Quick at 937-5516.