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Sunday, March 03, 2024

The Avenue Roundtable: Valentine’s Day event picks

Celebrate love with our staff recommendations of events and things to do

Looking for last minute Valentine’s Day plans? The Avenue’s got you covered. Our staff has compiled a list of things to do with your lover, your friends, your pet or yourself.

From parties for singles to activities for couples, our staff picks are guaranteed to have something for everyone. Get lost in love or find your new boo with these curated recommendations.

Sip ‘n’ Spin

Loren Miranda

Looking for a porcelain-perfect way to show your lover just how much they mean to you?

Studio T/M Pottery and Clay, a local family-owned ceramics studio is hosting an array of special Sip n’ Spin events in the days leading up to, on and after Valentine’s Day, for all the last-minute couples who need to celebrate after the weekday holiday.

The Sip n’ Spin events include pottery throwing with a fun bring-your-own-drink element that many couples enjoy, owner Sara Truman said. The 42-year-old owner founded the studio with her wife Naomi Mostoks.

The pair have a sweet love story of their own — Truman and Mostoks met as UF students in a ceramics class in 2008. Now, the couple has been operating their Gainesville studio, located at 2618 NE 18th Terrace, together for 7 years.

No experience is necessary, Truman said, and beginners and lovebirds alike are encouraged to try their hand at throwing the clay.

“It's just super fun,” Truman said. “First-time learners are honestly how we fill a lot of our class seats because our classes are six weeks. Sometimes, people come take these one-day events and have such a good time, they come back to take the class.”

Among the events offered include a wheel throwing lesson for two and two special date night events on Feb. 18 and March 4. The studio also offered a Galentine’s “just for the girls” event on Feb. 11, featuring handmade mug decorating and special surprise treats for the gal pals in attendance.

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Stoplight for singles (and others)

Lauren Whiddon

If dinner for two is too serious for you, stop by Social’s Stupid Cupid Valentine’s party.

The Social at Midtown, located at 1728 W University Ave., is hosting a stoplight party at 8 p.m. on its rooftop.

This is perfect for anyone single, in a relationship or in a situationship. Everyone who enters gets a band to signal their status. Attendees will get a green one if they are single, red if they are in a relationship or yellow if they are somewhere in between.

“The idea was to make light of all the warm and fuzzy stuff that usually is surrounding Valentine's Day,” said Felicia Suarez-Rogers, managing director of The Social.

The goal of the event is to have fun whether you’re alone, with friends or a lover.

In the name of healing, they will also be hosting a “shred your ex” where they are bringing in an industrial shredder. Attendees can shred photos, clothing or anything left over from their ex to receive a free jello shot or shooter.

They want to reward attendees for working through their resentment, Suarez-Rogers said.

There will also be a photobooth to capture all the love and healing of the night, along with unique specials for the night.

Heart and lock

Xenia Teju

Single and ready to mingle? Find your match this Valentine’s Day at The Swamp restaurant with a heart and lock game. Guys get the locks, girls get the keys, and whoever finds their match gets a free drink at the bar.

The lock and key event is hosted by Gator Chicks and will take place at 1104 SW 2nd Ave. on February 14th from 9 p.m. to closing. A real-life matchmaking experience that will also feature plenty of other fun activities like Valentine’s basket raffle, a special secret drink menu, and a mic’d-up session.

A fun way to celebrate the festivities, the UF student’s are equally as excited for this joint event. Gabriel Almond-Lopez, a 20-year-old UF political science junior is one of the many students who will be in attendance.

“Valentine’s Day tends to be dreaded by those who are single, but events like these make it fun for everyone no matter what relationship status they’re in,” Lopez said.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a couple’s only holiday. Now, singles can also make this holiday theirs with the help of local events aimed at bringing people together.

“Nothing is better than getting together with friends, grabbing some drinks, dancing and who knows, maybe even find a potential match,” Lopez said.

A valentine for shelter dogs

Zarin Ismail

Dogs can celebrate Valentine’s Day, too.

Newberry Animal Hospital is holding a “Valentines for Shelter Dogs” card exchange from Feb. 7 to Feb. 13.

Residents can get their dogs a Sweet Paws Bakery “Snickerpoodle” dog treat from any of the five Newberry Animal Hospital locations in exchange for a $5 donation. Donors can then fill out a Valentine’s Day card for another dog, which the Florida Poodle Rescue, a nonprofit organization, will then give — along with another “Snickerpoodle” treat — to one of its shelter dogs on Valentine’s Day.

In an Instagram post, the Newberry Animal Hospital said the promotion can help make the shelter dogs of the organization feel loved.

All proceeds from this special will go toward the Florida Poodle Rescue, which has found homes for over 10,000 poodles since 1994. The organization will use these earnings to provide its shelter dogs surgeries, treatments and foster care.

Florida Poodle Rescue welcomes adoption applications for those who want a pet as well as foster applications for those who wish to temporarily care for a poodle.

If you’re looking to give your dog and a fellow shelter dog some love for Valentine’s Day, purchase a dog treat from Newberry Animal Hospital by Monday.

Romance on campus

Gracey Davis

Love where you chomp this Valentine’s Day with a visit to the Arredondo Cafe. Hosted by UF’s Florida Fresh Dining, the Arredondo Cafe, located on the fourth floor of the Reitz Union, will be offering a romantic all-you-care-to-eat dinner on Valentine’s Day from 5-8 p.m.

Some of the offerings include: carved to order filet mignon, tuscan chicken with sundried tomatoes and spinach cream sauce, creamy mushroom risotto, deconstructed strawberry shortcake and more!

Breanna Gallo, a 20-year-old UF political science sophomore who lives in Tolbert Hall, said she’s excited to have a real Valentine’s Day dinner on campus. While she does have a car, she said competition for parking can be kind of chaotic at night and she really appreciates the opportunity to stay on campus.

“I’m sure it’s hard for some people to make plans to go out and make a big deal out of it,” Gallo said. “The opportunity to go somewhere where everything is all planned out and is in a convenient location is really cool.”

Reservations must be made through the Transact Mobile App, selecting the Harn Museum for the location, and then choosing your time and number of people in your party. It costs $18.95 per person and you have to pay at the time of the reservation.

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