By Emma Toscani
What are your Valentine’s Day plans? For those on a budget or with kids in tow, there are plenty of opportunities in town.
With babysitters charging an average of $16.43 an hour for one kid, according to UrbanSitter’s 7th Annual National Childcare Rates Survey, going out on a date for Valentine’s Day can be very costly.
Luckily, the Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department is holding its first “Night Out” event from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Feb. 14. This includes three hours of cooking instruction and activities for $40 per child.
“Your child is fed, your child had fun and maybe they got a skill that they didn’t have before you dropped them off,” Rosa Caldwell, a Bellingham parks and rec department event coordinator, said. “Meanwhile, [the parents] get to go out and play and have a date.”
At $40 for one child, it’s a two for the price of one deal including child care and a meal. There is a cap at 15 kids, as there is limited space in the Bloedel Donovan Park Community Building’s kitchen where the event is to be held.
There is still space to sign up, Caldwell said, but she expects more people to sign up closer to the date.
For parents wanting to give their kids time to enjoy the holiday, there are some events in town.
On the other hand, stressing about what to do for Valentine’s Day can be negated with making reservations in advance at local restaurants. Bellingham Cider Company is taking reservations now for a special Valentine’s Day dinner. Head Chef Chad Bumford said they are planning to have a special Valentine’s Day menu in addition to the regular menu.
Bellingham Cider Company is focusing on making vegan-friendly meals, with vegan options for all courses of the Valentine’s Day menu.
“We already have a lot of reservations,” Bumford said. He estimates the turnout to be 150 people.
Other restaurants around town are also holding special events for Valentine’s Day, including Boundary Bay, which is already taking reservations for that night.
Some restaurants and eateries have live music on Valentine’s Day, such as Honey Moon Mead & Cider House, where local musician and Western student Dr Sweets will be performing a Valentine’s-themed set. It is a free event, but you must be 21 years of age or older.
Along with that, Make.Shift is holding their 10th, and final, “V-Day Cover Show” on Feb. 14-15. The cover show is an event where local cover bands play short sets of nostalgic music from their high school years. The music is primarily from the ’90s, early ’00s and of the pop-punk variety.
“There’s not a lot of opportunity to say, ‘Let’s be in a Green Day cover band,’” said Katie Gray, Make.Shift executive director. “People have a lot of fun with it.”
Fourteen bands are scheduled to play, with cover bands for Heart and Queen, as well as The White Stripes and Tool. The show will have a $6-10 charge on a sliding scale, and it is an all ages event. Doors open at 7 p.m. and music starts at 7:30 p.m.
For the more competitive individuals, The Ruckus Room is holding a “Palentine’s Day Split-Flipper Tournament.” This is a two-person team foosball tournament on Friday, Feb. 14. It is a $5 pay-in, plus the players have to provide their own tokens at an extra cost. The tournament starts at 7 p.m. and will run until it is over.
Whether you are looking for a night out on the town, a family-friendly and affordable event, or just some competitive fun, Bellingham is not short on things to do this Valentine’s season.