Chalkboard hearts
Chalkboard hearts

By Molly Butler

For most holidays, I am the embodiment of holiday spirit.

My mother-in-law calls me the Tinsel Princess (I’m known for getting a tad exuberant in the tree decorating process) and my fiancé knows better than to ba-humbug anything when I’m around. But Valentine’s Day, for me, just doesn’t make the cut. I’ve never loved this holiday, except maybe in elementary school. Remember those little shoe-box mailboxes we made, and everyone gave cards to everyone and we went home with a sugar high, cards for our family, and glitter glue stuck to our shirts? Those were the days.

I hate to be one of those “It’s a made-up holiday made to sell you crap,” people but…if the giant heart-shaped box of chocolates that taste like Styrofoam and toothpaste fits… Every year they up the ante. Bigger boxes of candy. Bouquets too large to fit through the door. Heart-shaped pizzas and now pink macaroni. Teddy bears are getting to be the size of real bears.

A lot of people really enjoy Valentine’s day and I don’t want to poopoo anyone’s parade. A lot of people have really sweet traditions and gestures, and that’s fantastic. Love is love and everyone does it a little differently. I just know in our culture there is a lot more emphasis on being in love than any other type of love. We are told in a hundred ways, “You need someone.” And there’s a lot more pressure to look happy than to be happy.

I miss those elementary school days (minus the headlice) and I don’t see a reason I can’t bring them back. There’s scissors, colored paper, and peanut butter cups around here somewhere.

Personally, I miss those elementary school days (minus the headlice) and I don’t see a reason I can’t bring them back. There’s scissors, colored paper, and peanut butter cups around here somewhere. The point was never to give the perfect, extravagant, Instagrammable gift. It was to remind someone, “Hey. I think about you, and I love you.”

However, you spend the weekend, and whoever you spend it with, remember all the amazing ways you give and get love, and make sure to share a little extra. We have a full weekend of events ahead, so let’s get right into it!


Bethlehem Lutheran Church’s Fat Tuesday youth fundraiser will continue through the weekend. The silent auction will be available via Facebook through Sunday, and item and dinner pickup will be February 16 from 5:30-7 pm. You can order dinner here.

The Arts Center of St. Peter has two exciting new displays up from Feb. 3-27. Reed White’s “Corona Blues” includes ten-foot canvas flowers, portraits of locals outside the Coffee Hag, and short films of the artist with a polymer clay puppet. In the south window gallery, Dana Sikkila’s new installation explores the obsessive relationships between a woman and her favorite things. The gallery is free, wheel-chair accessible and Covid-19 precautions are required. For hours, or to learn more about purchasing an extra Souper Bowl, go to their website.

Don’t forget every Friday is Storytime with Miss Michelle. Head to the library’s Facebook page every Friday at 4 for this week’s story.

Theatre lovers get your tickets! The Mankato Playhouse presents Five Course Love. Three actors play fifteen different characters at five different restaurants, all seeking true love. Tickets are available on the Mankato Playhouse website.


Kickstart your romantic weekend with River Valley Running in Old Town Mankato. The Sweetheart Saunter 5k begins at 8:30 am and it’s perfect for runners and walkers of all abilities. Hot chocolate and coffee await everyone after the run. Then the Summer Baseball Registration starts at 9:00 am at the American Legion Post 37 in St. Peter. This is open to everyone ages 8-18 who would like to participate in St. Peter Baseball this Spring/Summer. There are also plenty of local sports to watch, including Mankato East’s girl’s hockey at 2 pm, MSU women’s basketball at 3 pm, Gustavus men’s hocket at 7 pm, and Mankato East’s boy’s hocket at 7:30 pm.

The Circle Inn on Belgrade in Mankato has found another creative way to serve the community during these strange times. Their Valentine’s Vendor Sale will be open under heated tents from 11 am to 1 pm, and the Circle Inn’s backroom will also be open from 11 am to 5 pm. Swing by for Charcuterie Sales, off sale, and other shopping just in time for Valentine’s Day. Indian Island Winery in Janesville is hosting their Valentine Gnome Paint and Sip starting at noon on Saturday. The cost is $30 per painter and masks are required. Call Suzanne at to reserve.


Don’t forget, this is your last day to put in an offer on the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Fat Tuesday online silent auction. Vagabond Village in Mankato is hosting a Nuthin’ But Love Party, an all-are-welcome event. The art class is available for just $5. Walk-ins are welcome and there are take away projects for both adults and kids, plus a gift for all shoppers and special activities.

Got an appetite for theatre? Not full from the Mankato Playhouse’s Five Course Love? Check out Adventures of Thin Man, a Valentine’s Day production by the State Street Theater. This show is available online at 2 pm.

Bonus: Heart of the Home

 I’ll take any excuse to bake. This Valentine’s Day I’ll probably be making something that can be decorated, like cupcakes or cookies. There are a million and a half Valentine’s baking ideas available online, but humans shouldn’t be the only ones feeling the love, so I wanted to throw in some treat ideas for our furry friends as well. Recently my mom dropped off some Pumpkin Dog Treats but if you don’t have pumpkin handy, there are also Peanut Butter Dog Treats. I didn’t forget the kitties. Here are some Homemade Cat Treats and even some ideas for Rabbit Treats. Have a fun day of baking for all your loved ones.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.