Love may be in the air, but who has time to take a whiff amid the hustle and bustle of a Monday? Thankfully, several events give you a chance to celebrate Valentine's Day over the weekend, before the weekday rush sets in on Feb. 14. Here's a sampling.
Scary and Sweet, Side-by-Side
If Valentine's Day has always been a little too saccharine for your taste, Evermore Nevermore has the cure for what ails you, starting with "hideous creatures, beautiful girls and blazing ray guns."
The shop's "Something I Can Never Have" art show, open to adults only, opens 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday with the work of Valley artists El Vaquero Muerto and Shayne of the Dead - and lots of blood and boobs.
Also in the shop that night: the Coffin Draggers, champions of the Arizona Derby Dames all-girl roller derby league, horror author Darryl Dawson, and arts collective Oddity Commodity, showing off their latest clothing, sketch art, fine art and comic book concepts. Artist Shelby Robertson, of American Dischord, will also debut his latest Second Friday print series, exclusive to Evermore Nevermore. The event is free and open to adults only at 127 W. Main St., Mesa. Information: (480) 964-4624 or evermorenevermore.com.
Meanwhile, downtown visitors with more traditional tastes will find family-friendly offerings steps away from the shop at Mesa's monthly Second Friday Night Out block party. The free event features six live bands, free swing dance lessons, chocolate covered strawberries, art and vendor booths, gallery shows and food and drink specials 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday along Main Street in downtown Mesa. Information: (480) 890-2613 or 2ndfridaynightout.com.
Animals need love, too, and kids will get a chance Friday to dote on the goats, camels, kangaroos, tortoises, llamas and barnyard critters at Marley Farms, the equine facility founded by former Diamondbacks player Shea Hillenbrand. This sweet little Valentine's party also includes rides on the "love train" and a strong man contest. Proceeds from food and activity sales go to the Hillenbrands' nonprofit Against All Odds. Admission is free 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Marley Farms, 26601 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert. Information: (480) 895-8453 or marleyfarms.com.
Peach Blossom Festival
There's a reason so many engagement photos are styled amid the fields and pastures of rural farms these days; there's something sweet and romantic about strolling hand-in-hand along a dirt lane or nestling down in a patch of greens for a quick smooch.
Approximate the feeling at this Schnepf Farms festival, where you're basically free to walk through acres of quiet peach orchards blanketed in pretty pink blossoms, spotting bunnies, birds, bumble bees and the occasional farm dog as you go.
Gates are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through Feb. 27 at the farm, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. Admission is free, but bring cash for extras like hay rides, petting zoo feed, sweets from the country store, or U-pick veggies straight from the garden. Information: (480) 987-3100 or schnepffarms.com.
Love and Laughter
The crew of comics at National Comedy Theatre save their sappiest material for the once-a-year Valentine's Show, where they play mushy and hilarious games throughout their popular improv comedy show. You can catch it 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the theater, 1111 S. Longmore St., Mesa. Tickets are $10-$12. Information: (602) 374-5638 or nctphoenix.com.
Flowers + Chocolate = Romance
Before you drop a few Andrew Jacksons on flowers on Monday, find out what message that bouquet of roses really sends at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum's fragrant and colorful "Language of Flowers" show. The exhibit reveals the messages different flowers convey. Nearby, a tasting table offers $1 handmade truffles and bonbons by M. Josephs, a Higley chocolatier who earned her confection-making credentials in France. $3-$7.50 gets you in the door 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday at the park, 37615 U.S. Highway 60, Superior. Information: (520) 689-2811 or ag.arizona.edu/bta.