Five playful ways to start celebrating with your Valentine this weekend

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Photo courtesy of UPcyclePOP
UPcyclePOP's Valentine's Day market will feature upcycled works from local artists, mural painting, a pop-up theater and more.

Forget dinner and a movie. Here are five ways to mix up Valentine’s Day weekend in and around the Sacramento region. 

ArtMix: Love Boat

Feb. 8 Crocker Art Museum’s monthly, 21-and-over ArtMix party will turn into a tropical love fest—complete with mermaids and pirates—just in time for Valentine’s Day. The museum’s glass-enclosed Friedman Court will be illuminated with lights to mimic the look of being underwater as guests—who are encouraged to don aquatic-themed costumes—dance (swim?) alongside Folsom-based hula group Aloha Dancers and The Midtown Moxies Burlesque troupe, or take selfies with giant inflatable starfish and a colorful performance crew from The Sacramento Mermaids. And, throughout the evening, local mixed media artist Melissa Uroff will lead a Valentine’s Day card-making workshop. $10. 6-9:30 p.m. Crocker Art Museum. 216 O St. 916-808-7000.

Go under the sea at the Crocker Art Mix's "Love Boat"-themed Valentine's Day bash (Photo courtesy of the Crocker Art Museum)

Port, Wine and Chocolate Lovers' Weekend

Feb 10-11 Follow the winding road along the scenic Sacramento River Delta to Clarksburg, where the Old Sugar Mill—a 1930s beet sugar factory that was repurposed into a collective of wine tasting rooms—will have a sweet spread of chocolaty treats paired with dessert wines from the 15 on-site wineries, such as Alesandra’s Sweet Red Port from the Carvalho Family Winery and Black Muscat from Elevation Ten. This annual two-day affair will also feature food trucks and the opportunity to bottle your own port. $10-$125. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Old Sugar Mill. 35265 Willow Ave. Clarksburg. 916-744-1615.

Watch the Sacramento Zoo's residents open gifts at the park's annual Valentine's Day party. (Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Zoo)

I Heart Sacramento Zoo

Feb. 11 The popular residents of the Sacramento Zoo will be seeing red—and pink and purple—at the park’s annual Valentine’s Day event. Prepare for things to get gushy when beasties like monkeys, lemurs, orangutans and kangaroos tear apart their edible heart-shaped gifts and Valentine cards. The zoo’s teen program members will be on hand to share some of their favorite stats on the animals, like foods they can’t live without and how they like to spend their time. $14.95 ($9.95 for children ages 2-11). 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sacramento Zoo. 3930 W. Land Park Dr. 916-808-5888.


Feb. 11 Looking for a last-minute Valentine's Day gift? This interactive pop-up market, which hosted its inaugural event in December, will feature the upcycled works of over 40 local makers, including Mike Jones, who turns antique barn materials into functional furniture, Mira Cukrov, who makes earrings out of bicycle tubes, and Kaden Hill, who converts anything from tackle boxes to suitcases into Bluetooth speakers. Visitors can also rewrite scripts and watch performances at a pop-up theater, help local artist Tony Byrnes paint a permanent mural on a large indoor wall with the hashtag #LoveUp, as well as create heart-shaped Valentine’s Day cards out of recycled construction paper and cardboard. Free. 12-6 p.m. UPcyclePOP. 7300 Folsom Blvd. 916-642-9415.

New Helvetia Brewing Company will host a beer and chocolate pairing with Ginger Elizabeth this Sunday (Photos courtesy of purveyors)

Chocolate & Beer Pairing at New Helvetia

Feb. 11 There are few pairings that say Valentine’s Day like the combination of wine and chocolate, but at New Helvetia Brewing Company, it’s all about chocolate and beer. The Land Park brewery is collaborating with midtown’s popular dessert destination Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates for a flight of four house-brewed beers and four handcrafted bonbons the Sunday before Valentine’s Day. The flights will marry inventive bonbon varieties like grapefruit fennel pollen, Meyer lemon hazelnut and Maya chile with New Helvetia’s specialty brews, including the Belgian-style Un Petite Changé, the Rough & Ready red IPA and the Baltic Porter. $20 per flight. 12-6 p.m. New Helvetia Brewing Company. 1730 Broadway. 916-469-9889.

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