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SPECIAL EVENT | Valentine's Day Events 

There are plenty of reasons to dread Valentine's Day on Thursday, February 14. If you're in a relationship, you have to worry about making the right reservation, buying the right gifts, and upping the ante from last year. If you're single, you might just feel like staying in bed for the day. But there's no reason to let love get you down – whatever your relationship status, there are plenty of simple, lovely ways to spend this year's Hallmark holiday.

For starters, you can learn about the 200-year history of valentines – from the homemade cutouts of the 1800's to turn-of-the-century telegram messages to the commercial cards of today – at the "To My Valentine" exhibit (pictured) at the Rochester Museum and Science Center (657 East Ave.). See how love evolved from a handmade art to a mass-produced industry in an exhibit that features chromo prints, picture postcards, watercolor sketches, comic greetings, and other affectionate arts dating from the 1830's through the 1980's. "To My Valentine" continues through March 31, and is free with museum admission: $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and college students, $11 for ages 3 through 18 and free for children under 3 and all museum members. For a full list of museum events, visit rmsc.org or call 271-1880.

You can spread the love by helping to fill a giant heart of valentines at the Valentine's Day Drop-In at White Haven Memorial Park (210 County Road, Pittsford). From 2 to 4 p.m., lovers of all ages can drop in to the park's All Seasons Gathering Room to contribute or create their own valentines to the collective White Haven Heart. Supplies are available for those who want to make their own cards, and there will also be free treats for all. Visitors are urged to call in advance at 586-8232 to reserve supplies and sweets.

Get serenaded and get on the dance floor at Rochester Rhythm and Romance: Jazz Hugs and Tap Dances, a musical valentine at the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre Center (540 E. Main St.). At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13, enjoy one hour of tap choreography and romantic jazz standards by Bill Evans, Cheryl Johnson and Courtney World. Guest artists from the SUNY Brockport Department of Dance also perform. Rochester Rhythm and Romance will also be held on Thursday February 14 at 5:30 & 7:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday, February 15-16, at 5:30 & 8 p.m., and Sunday, February 17, at 2 & 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 and advance reservations are recommended. For more info, call 325-4370 or visit downstairscabaret.com.

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