Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, and couples wanting to do more than a typical dinner date without breaking the bank have several options in Wilson County.

From vow renewals to dancing and fundraisers, here are some of the activities happening around town this weekend:

Friday, Feb. 14

Valentine’s Day dance for special education students

The Wilson County Schools Transportation Department will host a Valentine’s Day dance for students in the Department for Exceptional Children from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Wilson County Exposition Center.

“They’ve had this event for several years and it’s something the department takes great pride in,” Wilson County Schools Public Information Officer Bart Barker said. “The students love it, and it’s a big deal for them.”

Since its inception, the event has become a tradition for those involved. Barker estimated that between 200 and 300 students attend, along with their families and caretakers.

All school district staff, Exceptional Education students and their parents are invited to attend.

Day Dreamers Valentine’s Day Fundraiser

Couples can use their Valentine’s Day deliveries to support local adults with disabilities through the Empower Me Center’s latest fundraiser.

The center’s Day Dreamers have been creating $15 gift containers filled with candies and other treats to be delivered throughout Valentine’s Day.

Those interested in placing an order can reach out to the center on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EmpowerMeCenter/.

String art Love Board at Southern Gifting Co.

Southern Gifting Co. is offering custom photo display boards for couples from 6-7:30 p.m. at 11924 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet.

Attendees can choose their paint and string colors, then add nails and pictures. The shop can print pictures on-site for a final project.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased from http://southerngiftingco.com/string-art-love-board-with-pho

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St. Frances Cabrini’s Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance and Auction

St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church will host a dinner, dance and auction from 6-9 p.m. inside its parish hall to benefit both the church and the Knights of Columbus, a men’s service organization.

“We’ll have a DJ, dinner with appetizers and over $3,000 worth of items in the silent auction,” Kenneth Krog of the Knights of Columbus said. “Fifty% of the auction profits will be going toward the church.”

The remainder will go toward the Knights of Columbus and used to fund causes like the local fire departments and the Special Olympics.

Tickets are $40 per couple and include an appetizer dinner and two drinks. Some of the silent auction items include $100 Publix gift cards, aquarium passes, a Milwaukee drill and Ryman Auditorium tickets.

Purchases can be made at the door the night of the event or online at http://bit.ly/2Ryx3xf.

Friday, Feb. 14 — Sunday, Feb. 16

Unplug Recharge No Social Media Challenge

Leadership Wilson’s Class of 2020 is encouraging couples to put down their phones and spend quality time together, and several businesses and restaurants are offering discounts for doing so over the weekend.

“The idea really came out of our Leadership Wilson retreat,” Becky Kegley of Leadership Wilson said. “Haley Jones was talking about how distracting her phone was during the retreat, and we talked about how social media is like a form of addiction. You lose some of that face to face, voice to voice communication and start neglecting important relationships with people who are in your company.”

Participating organizations include AR Workshop Mt. Juliet, Buckeye Drugs, Friendship Christian School, The Honey Baked Ham, Mt. Juliet Travel, Leadership Wilson, Painturo’s, SmileGallery, Ramona & Co., The Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, Zaxby’s, the Lebanon Special School District Central Office, Trendz Salon, Mayor Randall Hutto’s Office and Donut Time.

Although the challenge is tied to Valentine’s Day weekend, Kegley hopes those who try it will continue to cut back on social media usage.

“Maybe people will take the time to put their phones down and enjoy an activity as a family, like a movie or game night,” she said. “Hopefully, the impact will be felt beyond the weekend.”

Saturday, Feb. 15

Watertown Valentine’s Day activities

The Tennessee Artist’s Guild will be hosting a variety of themed activities in Watertown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Several of the activities are new this year,” Tennessee Artist’s Guild Executive Director Vickie Frazier said. “There’s a murder mystery train coming through the station that afternoon, and we wanted to make sure we had enough for people to do while they’re in town.”

Wine and chocolate pairings for $15 will be available at Sassy Pecan on 114 E. Main St., with additional bottles and local chocolates for sale at 210 E. Main St. and 120 E. Main St.

Artizan Insurance and Gifts, located at 214 Public Square, is offering a $10 jewel-studded keychain project couples can complete together over two complementary glasses of champagne.

City Walking Tour scavenger hunts are also available from Artizan for $5, and are focused on the music videos and movies shot in Watertown. The Watertown and East Wilson Chamber of Commerce will provide canvas tote bags after the tour.

Watertown Helping Hands will host a kissing both with mini photo sessions, chocolate covered strawberries, cake pops, meat and two dinners at 215 E. Main St.

Several restaurants in the city will also be serving specialty items throughout the day, including the Adopted Farmhouse Coffee Company, Nona Lisa Pizzeria and the Depot Junction.

“We’ve found this has been really successful,” Frazier said, noting the positive reception to Valentine’s events held on Feb. 8 and in previous years. “Last year, we did the wine and chocolate pairing, and that went so well we wanted to do it again.”

Tickets for each event are available at www.ticketbud.com by searching for the name of the event.

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