How to spend Valentine’s Day in C-U

Customized cookies from The Cookie Jar emphasize the advantages of being single.

By Lillian Barkley

Love or hate it, Valentine’s Day is unavoidable. Across campus, there are plenty of ways for students to make the most of the upcoming holiday whether single or taken.

Romance

Temperatures may be below freezing on Saturday, but with a hot beverage in hand, the Arboretum will still be just as romantic. Across 57 acres of paths and gardens, students can find an easy way to escape the campus crowds.

Downtown Champaign presents the classic option of a romantic movie. The Virginia will be showing the 1940 romantic comedy “The Philadelphia Story” for $6 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. as part of the News-Gazette Film Series.

But, for a more modern love story, the Art Theater will be showing “Dirty Dancing” at 10 p.m., so any romantic can have the time of their life.

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For those looking to give back, the University Engineering Council Service Committee will be hosting “Skate with a Date” from 7:45 to 9:45 p.m. at the Ice Arena. Skating costs $5 and all proceeds go to the American Heart Association. Food and a raffle will be included, as well as a photo booth to capture all the memories. 

Giving Gifts

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without flowers. April’s Florist offers wrapped and custom bouquets priced by the stem. Prices range from $40 to upwards of $250. 

Campus Florist does not price their flowers in advance, but their most popular item is a single red rose, according to owner Anne Johnston, who opened her shop 73 years ago. 

“I started it when I came down to school and I never left,” she said. 

The shop has seen many Valentine’s throughout the years, but everyone likes to get Valentines and “flowers are the biggest hit,” she said. 

If someone’s Valentine has a green thumb, buying a succulent is an equally sweet alternative. Plant Mode in downtown Champaign has many different varieties of succulents, with the cheapest plant being $1.50. Owner Matthis Helmick said personalizing a succulent is not difficult. 

“You can craft around a cute little container,” he said. 

He suggested using a souvenir mug from a shared vacation and planting a Panda Paw, which is “the cutest plant ever,” he said. 

A more relaxed, stay-at-home Valentine’s Day can still be filled with cheesy hearts. Jet’s Pizza is selling heart-shaped pizzas on Friday and Saturday. The special is a medium one-topping deep-dish for $8.49. The deep-dish option is new this year. 

For dessert, the Cookie Jar sells custom-decorated heart-shaped cookies. A 12-inch cookie is $15 and a 14-inch cookie is $18. Valentine’s Day is the shop’s largest day of the year, said owner Ed Brubaker. The absence of students during winter break is rough on business, according to Brubaker, so the rush is welcome.  

Being single

Valentine’s Day is widely thought of as the loneliest day for singles, but being in a relationship is not a requirement for having a good time. Anyone can order a pizza or cookie or take part in any of the activities with friends, family or solo. There are even some benefits to being single. 

Firehaus is hosting a “Bitterness Bash” on Friday at 10 p.m. for those who need to escape the sugary-sweet couples. The event will feature music from the Social Alcohol Band, and two Blackhawks tickets will be given away to someone willing to share their bitterest breakup story. 

Groups of single friends can exchange gifts and ride out the holiday together, and complete singletons can take advantage of the time alone. They can revel in the fact that no reservations have had to be made, no arguments over plans have been endured and no money has been spent on gifts. They can embrace the stress-free atmosphere and go to a salon or just spend the weekend relaxing and doing what they want to do. And, of course, taking full advantage of the clearance Valentine’s Day candy the next day. 

Lillian can be reached at [email protected]