This week's Chattanooga-area entertainment options range from an RV show to Singing Valentines

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / A group representing CarMax jumps into the chilly waters Feb. 12 during the Chattanooga Polar Plunge at Finley Stadium.
Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / A group representing CarMax jumps into the chilly waters Feb. 12 during the Chattanooga Polar Plunge at Finley Stadium.

Valentine's Day gets an unofficial kickoff this weekend. The love-themed events vary from lantern-lit cave tours at Ruby Falls to wild animal observation at the Chattanooga Zoo, plus music and theater for traditionalists.

ARTS

-- Photographic Society of Chattanooga will host an opening reception for its winter show 6-8:30 p.m. Friday at Gallery at Blackwell, 71 Eastgate Loop. The show will be on view through May 5. chattanoogaphoto.org

-- Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View, will offer a Sunday Studio themed to "Connections" 2-4 p.m. Sunday. The free drop-in art experiences are set up for families to create works inspired by two new exhibits: "Beauford Delaney's Metamorphosis Into Freedom" and "Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe." huntermuseum.org

(READ MORE: New exhibits at Hunter Museum explore the lives, works of Knoxville, Atlanta artists)

DANCE

-- Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave., will feature a performance of Monica Ellison's #ilovemyknee solo dances, based on a two-year collection posted to social media, at 8 p.m. Saturday. Special guest is Aaron "Cherokee" Ellison. Tickets are $20. barkinglegs.org

MUSIC

-- Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave., has two musical performances ahead. The weekly installment of Jazz in the Lounge features The Knotty Professors at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Cover is $5. Local singer Robin Grant will present a "Love Story" show at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $25-$35. barkinglegs.org

-- Athens Area Council for the Arts will present "Cross That River: The Story of a Runaway Slave Who Became a Black Cowboy" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Athens City Middle School, 200 Keith Lane, Athens, Tenn. The concert is the final performance in the Bicentennial Celebration Performance Season. Tickets are $20-$30. athensartscouncil.org

-- Walker Theatre, 399 McCallie Ave., will host country/bluegrass stalwart Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives at 8 p.m. Thursday. A working musician since 1968 (the year he turned 10), the "Hillbilly Rock" star has gained recognition over the years for his talent, wardrobe and aptly named band. Tickets are $36-$56. tivolichattanooga.com

-- Songbirds, 35 Station St., has two upcoming shows. The Songbirds Radio Hour: Music Making With Ardie Dean & Charles "Sugar Harp" Burroughs, features two representatives of the Music Maker Foundation in Hillsborough, N.C., a nonprofit that helps marginalized artists share their music. Dean is the house drummer and musical director of the Music Maker Blues Revue. Burroughs is a Music Maker partner known for his "down in the gutter, back alley, storytelling blues," according to Songbirds' website. The free program starts at 7 p.m. Thursday. Pop singer David Cook, who won the seventh season of "American Idol," will be in concert at 7 p.m. Friday with support from Atlanta rock band The Swear. Tickets are $30. songbirdsfoundation.org

-- Barrelhouse Ballroom, 1501 Long St., has announced that Friday's concert by Confederate Railroad has been postponed, but there's still plenty of twang in the remaining shows. Leading off is local singer Brandon Davis, who opened for country superstar Tim McGraw on several dates last spring. His show starts at 9 p.m. Thursday with a $15 ticket. Town Mountain, a country/bluegrass band from Asheville, N.C., will play at 9 p.m. Saturday, with support from Cole Chaney. Tickets are $25-$25. barrelhouseballroom.com

-- The Signal, 1810 Chestnut St., will toggle from country to rock to pop music in three upcoming shows. Lainey Wilson's Country With a Flare Tour, scheduled Thursday, is sold out. Rockers Flogging Molly will be in concert at 8 p.m. Friday, with Anti-Flag and Skinny Lister opening. Tickets are $45-$80. Gimme Gimme Disco, an ABBA-inspired dance party, starts at 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $17-$40. thesignaltn.com

-- Chattanooga Symphony & Opera is promoting two upcoming shows. The All-Accessible Concert, a sensory-friendly show that will have assistance from the music therapy department of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is scheduled at noon Thursday. Tickets are free, but reservations are required to learn the venue. The CSO Youth Orchestras' winter concert will start at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Brainerd Baptist Church, 300 Brookfield Ave. Tickets are $5-$10. chattanoogasymphony.org

-- Chattanooga Gospel Music Awards, a Black History Month celebration of gospel music, will start at 7 p.m. Friday at Abba's House, 5208 Hixson Pike. Marcellus Barnes Sr. and Sounds of Unity will host the concert, which features Stellar Award nominee and Dove Award winner John Lakin with his Band of Worshipers. Tickets are $20. eventbrite.com

-- Southern Adventist University will present the Honors Instrumental Festival, featuring string, wind and percussion students from throughout the Southeast and points beyond, at 4 p.m. Saturday in Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church, 4829 College Drive. Admission is free. southern.edu/musicevents

-- Lee University will host the Honor Choir Showcase at 4 p.m. Saturday in Conn Center, 150 11th St. NE, Cleveland, Tenn. An estimated 275 high school students from 19 schools were recommended by their choral directors for the musical gathering, which culminates in a concert, "The Road Home." The high-schoolers will be joined by the Lee University Chorale, Lee Singers and assistant professor ChoEun Lee, a collaborative pianist. The concert is free and nonticketed. Livestream: leeu.live

-- Simmons-O'Neal Memorial Concert, featuring the Chattanooga Boys Choir and Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African American Song, is set for 3 p.m. Sunday in Baylor School's Alumni Chapel, 171 Baylor School Road. Fun fact: The concert honoring educators Edmonia Simmons and Everett O'Neal has not returned to the same venue in its 30-year history. The special guest is D'Walla Simmons-Burke, director of choral activities at Winston-Salem State University. Admission is free. chattanoogaboyschoir.org

-- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has scheduled two performances next week, beginning with a concerto concert by the UTC Symphony Orchestra at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Fine Arts Center, 752 Roland Carter St. The performance will feature four student concerto winners. A livestream will be available at livestream.com/utc. On Monday, acclaimed tenor Jackson Caesar will visit to perform "Spirituals: Celebrating the Music, Life and Legacy of Roland Hayes" on the stage that bears Hayes' name in the UTC Fine Arts Center. Hayes (1887-1977) was a world-renowned lyric tenor and composer who was born in Gordon County, Ga., and spent his formative years in Chattanooga. Caesar's free performance starts at 7:30 p.m. blog.utc.edu/news

-- Singing Valentines: Surprise your sweetheart Tuesday with a romantic serenade delivered by a barbershop quartet from the Choo Choo Chorus. In addition to the love song, the $50 package includes a single red rose, a card with your personalized message and a small box of chocolates. Early booking is recommended. choochoochorus.org/valentine

OUT & ABOUT

-- The Comedy Catch, 29 Station St., counts down to the weekend with an Open Mic Night for new talents at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $7. The weekend headliner is Etta May, whose website offers the secret to her stand-up success: "I just wait for my husband or kids to do something stupid, and then I write it down." She'll entertain in a special engagement at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (tickets priced at $17-$20) and 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday ($25-$28). thecomedycatch.com

-- Bessie Smith Cultural Center, 200 E. M.L. King Blvd., continues its weekly Black History Month programs at 6 p.m. Thursday with a screening of "Shared Legacies" with the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga. The award-winning documentary relates the crucial historical lessons of Black-Jewish cooperation during the civil-rights turbulence of the 1960s. Admission is free. Livestream: bessiesmithcc.org/bhm

-- The Chattery, 1800 Rossville Ave., continues its free weekly Black History Month events with a lecture on "The History of Hip-Hop" 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday. The speaker is Chandra Ward, associate professor of sociology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. thechattery.org

-- Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River St., continues its Winter Workshop Series with a free program on "Building the Cumberland Trail" at 6 p.m. Thursday. The evening will include a Q&A and information on essentials for a day hike on the trail, which stretches from Signal Mountain to the Tennessee/Kentucky border, with some segments still under development. Attend in person (registration recommended) or virtually (register for link). outdoorchattanooga.com

-- Creative Arts Guild, 520 W. Waugh St., Dalton, Ga., will present Heartstrings: A Valentine's Dinner 7-9 p.m. Friday. The evening includes a four-course meal prepared by chef Courtney Coffee, complimentary glass of Prosecco (cash bar available) and romantic music by classical guitarist Alejandro Olson and the Somerset String Ensemble. Cost is $75 per person. creativeartsguild.org

(READ MORE: Need romantic ideas for Valentine's dinner? These Chattanooga-area restaurants can help)

  photo  Staff Photo / A man pushes a stroller past a row of campers on display in 2019 during the Chattanooga RV Show at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
 
 

-- Chattanooga RV Show is this weekend at the Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza. The expo showcases the latest makes and models of recreational vehicles and related vendors, with some dealers offering factory rebates, financing and instant loan approval. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 (cash only); free for visitors under 16. chattrvshow.com

-- Romance at Ruby is a chance for couples to tour Ruby Falls, 1720 Scenic Highway, in an after-hours adventure in which guides relate the love story that led to the discovery of the namesake waterfall in 1928. Times are available Friday through Tuesday by reservation. Cost is $90 per couple, which includes the special-edition, lantern-lit cave tour, a professional photo and other keepsakes. rubyfalls.com

-- Valentine's Market will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at Bradley Square Mall, 200 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland, Tenn. The Bagley Gift Co. event features vendors with sweet treats, arts and crafts. Children can take part in a free event offering coloring pages, face painting, crafts and photos with Belle and Cinderella characters 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Story Land. shopbradleysquare.com

-- Chattanooga Zoo, 301 N. Holtzclaw Ave., will offer Valentine's-themed animal enrichment activities 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Called Hearts and Hisses, the special programming is free with regular admission: $12-$17 (discounts for tickets purchased online). chattzoo.org

-- Chattanooga Polar Plunge starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in a pool set up on the Chattanooga Green, 140 Riverfront Parkway. (FYI: Saturday's high is expected to be in the mid-40s.) Registration opens at 10 a.m., and a costume contest precedes the plunge at 11 a.m. Cost to participate is a $75 minimum donation to Tennessee Special Olympics ($50 for students). specialolympicstn.org/polar-plunge

  photo  Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / From left, Chattanooga residents Tate Trentham, Cade King, Daniel Hodges and Aidan Johnson jump into the water Feb. 12 during the Chattanooga Polar Plunge at Finley Stadium.
 
 

-- Cleveland Bradley County Public Library, 795 Church St. NE, Cleveland, Tenn., will kick off a monthly series of Centennial Celebration tours 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Guides in historical costumes will lead visitors through the new and old facilities. Register: clevelandlibrary.org

-- Mardi Gras Ball, presented by the Mystikal Krewe of Indulgences, is 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday at the Read House, 107 W. M.L. King Blvd. The 27th annual event features a Cajun buffet, open bar for beer and wine, cash bar for liquor, a live Dixieland band and DJ for dancing and the crowning of a king and queen. Proceeds go to Downside Up, an inclusive preschool. Attire is black-tie optional. Tickets are $65-$100. eventbrite.com

THEATER

-- "Pride & Prejudice": Chattanooga Theatre Centre has sold out all of this weekend's performances of the Jane Austen classic. theatrecentre.com

-- "The Housekeeper": This comedy about the relationship that develops between an oddball housekeeper and her employer plays its last weekend at Oak Street Playhouse, 418 Oak St. (behind First-Centenary United Methodist Church). Performances start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12-$17. brownpapertickets.com

-- "Love Letters": Dalton Little Theatre, 210 N. Pentz St., Dalton, Ga., will offer a single weekend of A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters," the story of childhood friends who become love interests through their 50-year correspondence. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10-$15. daltonlittletheatre.com

-- "School of Rock": A youth rock band is at the center of this production presented by Athens Community Theatre the next two weekends. The new musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber follows the plot of the 2003 film in which a failed, wannabe rock star takes a job as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school and turns his booksmart students into musicians. Shows start at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (same schedule Feb. 17-19) at The Arts Center, 320 N. White St., Athens, Tenn. Tickets are $15-$20. athensartscouncil.org

-- "Boeing Boeing": Signal Mountain Playhouse will present this French farce about an airline pilot attempting to juggle relationships with three flight attendants over the next three weekends at Mountain Arts Community Center, 809 Kentucky Ave. Recommended for adults and older teens, the show starts at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, plus Feb. 18-19 and 24-25. Tickets are $15 (cash or check). smph.org

Find more events, and add your own, at timesfreepress.com/cnevents.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.