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Grand Rapids gets in the Valentine’s Day spirit

File Photo
File Photo

Grand Rapids offers a number of activities for students looking to get involved with Valentine’s Day festivities this weekend. Grnow.com, a site dedicated to showcasing events in the Grand Rapids area, posted a guide to Grand Rapids-area events, activities and discounts for Valentine’s Day.

The event guide divides into dining, nightlife, date ideas, family events and local floral shops categories. The dining category highlights deals on Valentine’s Day-themed meals at some of Grand Rapids’ most swanky restaurants. However, Calvin students found that many of these restaurants remained well out of their price range.

For instance, San Chez’s, a tapas bistro, plans to host a “Dinner in the Dark,” a meal in which participants dine on tapas and alcoholic beverages while blindfolded. Entry costs $65 a ticket.

For $75 you could eat a four-course Persian and Mediterranean meal at Shiraz Grille.

“I think the opportunity to go on a date night is nice, but I think these restaurants see the holiday [as a] chance to make a buck. I think the process has become too commercialized,” says junior Hannah Reed.

Apart from dining opportunities, the guide offers a variety of recreational activities. From a candle-lit snowshoe hike, touring Grand Rapids in a horse-drawn carriage ride, taking in some classical music at the Grand Rapids Symphony, or creating linoleum block prints at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Junior Jerome Navarro thinks each event appeals to different people, depending on who you plan to spend the evening with.

“Skating at Rosa Parks Circle might be more casual, while attending something like the Grand Rapids Symphony might feel more like asking someone out, although it can be an enriching new experience for anyone, including single people,” Navarro said.

Some events specifically cater to non-couples. One such event is Valent-Ice day, where a professional photographer will take free pictures of people in front of an ice sculpture near Rosa Parks Circle.

Non-profit organizations plan to use this Valentine’s Day to fundraise for a number of charitable causes. At the Pink Tie Affair — a party taking place at McFadden’s Pearl Room at 8 p.m. — food, a raffle and prizes will be offered in exchange for donations to the Susan G. Foundation for breast cancer research.

“I think the Pink Tie Affair is a great example of an interesting event that will not only be enjoyable, but also demonstrate social responsibility and initiative. It’s getting away from the more commercial aspects and exclusively romantic aspects of Valentine’s Day. I’m sure that individuals with breast cancer will appreciate the thought as well,” said senior Jerry Chen.

Despite its attempts to get Grand Rapids residents excited about Valentine’s Day events around the city, the guide hasn’t pleased everyone. Some Calvin students criticize the guide for emphasizing pre-planned programming to celebrate relationships.

“It’s not really about celebrating the relationship. Celebrating love is great, but I just think [GRnow’s event guide] is a way to make money,” says Reed.

Chen, however, defends the holiday and the guide, considering it an excuse for people to show appreciation to those they care about.

“In our daily lives, we often get lost in the same old and ignoring each other. Sometimes it’s nice to show someone they mean a lot to you on a special day,” Chen said.

About the Author

Nathan Slauer

Nathan Slauer is a Chimes staff writer for the 2012-13 school year.

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