JOPLIN, Mo. —
By Joe Hadsall
Valentine's Day was made for weekends.
It doesn't happen often, but Feb. 14 falls on a Friday this year. That opens up bigger, more extravagant and involved plans for the annual day of love. Local entertainment venues, from restaurants to night clubs and even event centers, have a variety of ways lovers can enjoy the year's biggest date night.
Events include everything from a night of low-brow stand-up comedy to cultured explorations of opera, from mechanical bull riding to a romantic Italian meal. There's even an anti-Valentine's Day event for singles or cynical couples.
Many of these events require RSVPs or registration, so browse through and plan now.
No sugar-coating it: Opera is better with chocolate.
Heartland Opera Theatre has paired with the Minerva Candy Company for "Sweet! An Evening of Romantic Songs and Delicious Treats," a night of music and candy.
The program includes a collection of romantic music from operas and musicals, including "La Boheme," "The Barber of Seville," "Oklahoma" and "Company." It features soprano Vicki Branch Hummell in her first appearance with Heartland Opera Theatre.
Other singers include Daryl Foster, Devri Brock, Forrest Bunter and accompanist Kathy Nenadel. The show is directed by Susan Smith and emceed by Gwen and Duane Hunt.
It will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Route 66 Events Center in Webb City. Tickets: $12 at the door.
Two one-act operas by Puccini will be presented by Pittsburg State University Opera Theatre for Valentine's Day.
"Suor Angelica" is the story of a young woman's unwavering love for her son, who she had to abandon when he was a baby. "Gianni Schicchi," Puccini's only comic opera, is about a father's love for his daughter and money. The latter features "O Mio Babbino Caro," one of the composer's most famous operas.
The program will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16. Tickets: $10, $5 for students and seniors, free for PSU students and faculty.
The Cosmopolitan Event Center will host two distinctly different events during this romantic weekend. And if things go really well, the center is hosting a bridal fair on Sunday.
~ Ice and Fire Affair: No date is required for this formal event featuring modern music, dinner, a light show and drinks. Singles and couples are invited to enjoy decorations of lit ice sculptures, indoor fire and music and lights by Absolute Custom Entertainment.
Attendees 18 and older are welcome. Alcohol served to attendees 21 and older.
~ Frosted: A Cool Big Band Valentine's Ball: The sounds of the big band era will be featured loudly and proudly during this event. The JM Band, a 17-piece big band from northwest Arkansas, will play a selection of swing, salsa and more. Anyone who wants to learn the dances of yesteryear can learn on the fly. The event also includes a dinner buffet.
Though it's a formal event, period dress from the '20s to '50s is encouraged. Flapper dresses, zoot suits, anything goes.
Cracking up Cupid
As part of its efforts to bring more stand-up comedy to the area, JB's Piano Bar will host For the Love of Comedy, a night featuring comedians John Pinney, Patrick Mahon and Ryan Smith.
Pinney is a former boxer who has turned to comedy -- another field where he won't pull any punches.
Caldone's will feature a sweetheart dinner and soulful music on Friday, Feb. 14 at its upstairs Speakeasy. After a dinner prepared by the restaurant's new chef, crooner Rich Roberts will perform.
Instant Karma will offer all-you-can-eat crab legs on Friday, Feb. 14 for Valentine's Day dinners. The restuarant will offer later hours as well: Reservations can be made for anytime between 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Steel Rooster in Carthage will give thrill seekers a chance to compete in mechanical bull riding.
Boots and Bikinis is a national talent showcase that lets participants exhibit their craziest riding style. Men and women can compete during the event, which runs from 8 to 11 p.m. at the new bar, located at 2110 E. Fairview.
Not everyone loves the lovey-dovey attitude of Valentine's Day, and Jukebox feels their pain. The Range Line night club is offering a "Love Stinks, Let's Drink" party for those seeking to be "independent and fabulous" starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14.