Whether you've been hit by Cupid's arrow, or you're doing your best to deflect that pesky little diapered angel's heart-shaped darts, there's plenty to do to celebrate, or lament, love's favorite holiday in the Berkshires.

Most restaurants are offering special menus, so plan ahead and be prepared to make reservations. If you're looking for more than just a candlelit dinner, check out some of the events planned to make your heart go pitter-patter all weekend long.

Thursday

Sherri James Buxton, will perform a Valentine Cabaret, "Love Me or Leave Me", tonight at the Berkshire Athenaeum, 1 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, starting at 7. An elegant interpreter of a wide range of genres from standards and show tunes to jazz, Buxton combines a lifelong love of melody and lyric with a highly skilled voice and beautiful stage presence. The evening of music is free. For more information, call (413) 499-9480. The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers asked six Berkshire women to write from their hearts about the ever-popular topic of LOVE. Not the cheesy romanticism of commercial Valentine's Day, but the real deal -- the fierce love of women that can move mountains, open hearts and make dreams into reality. Join local writers Maria Black, Mary Campbell, Sheela Clary, Lorrin Krouss, Betsy McTiernan and Grace Rossman at The Mount today at 6 p.m. For more information, call (413) 551-5100.


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Valentine's Day (Friday)

Stop by the Berkshire Humane Society at 214 Barker Road in Pittsfield and pucker up for a good cause. For a $1 you can "Kiss-a-Bull," smooching Oliver the shelter's Good Citizen Tested Pit Bull starting at 11 a.m.

Shred down Bousquet Mountain in Pittsfield with your favorite ski-bunny. Lift tickets are $14 per person all day in honor of the Feb. 14 holiday.

Bring your own Valentine and your own vino to the first annual "byovv" Valentine's Day dinner at Dottie's Coffee Lounge on North Street in Pittsfield. There will be two seatings, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and you must call for (413) 443-1792 for a reservation.

Love is in the galleries for Date Night at MASS MoCA. Enjoy a candlelight dinner for two at the museum on Valentine's Day and tour the galleries. Have kids? No problem, just drop them off at Kidspace for their own night of fun.

Lickety Split, the café at MASS MoCA, will cater. Diners have a choice of roast prime rib, apple-stuffed Vermont chicken or vegetable-and-mozzarella-stuffed portobello mushrooms. Seatings are at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Afterward, Lickety Split becomes a romantic coffeehouse to serve European-style chocolate desserts. A cash bar will be available.

Tickets are $115 per couple and $36 per child for members, and $130 per couple and $40 per child for not-yet-members. Reservations are available through the MASS MoCA box office, located on Marshall Street in North Adams, or call (413) 662-2111 ext. 1.

The Soweto Gospel Choir will present a musical celebration of the color and vibrancy of their nation while honoring the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, tonight at 8 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. Theirs has been an incredible journey from the streets of Soweto to the world's most prestigious venues. Along the way, they have won two Grammys, an Emmy and an Oscar nomination, and they have just released their sixth album, "Divine Decade." Tickets are $25 to $65. For more information, visit www.mahaiwe.org.

Stop by Mission Bar and Tapas on North street in Pittsifeld. to hear Benny Fingers and Friends play the greatest love songs of all time, for an evening billed as "the most romantic night in history." The tunes start at 8 p.m. and a special tapas menu will be available.

The Town Players of Pittsfield present "Love Letters" by A. R. Gurney Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30. The play is a popular Valentine's Day tradition for the players, who will be putting the production on at the Whitney Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave., Pittsfield. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door. Call (413) 443-9279 for reservations.

What better way to share the love then be there when Dream Away Lodge in Becket reopens its doors for the season and hosts Home Body in the Music Room and introduces a new winter menu. Call ahead for reservations (413) 623-8725), because the local favorite is sure to be hopping.

No. Six Depot Roastery Cafe in West Stockbridge is offering a "decidedly low-stakes, warm and cozy Valentine's Day," with dinner served from 5 to 9 p.m., followed by a film screening 8-10 p.m. of "Paris, Je T'Aime."

Valentine's Day not really your "thing?" Join the first annual "My Black Valentine Mixer" being held at the Crowne Plaza. The night is being billed for "those who want to escape the pressures of the holiday," with music from DJ BFG. Singles are asked to wear white, and those officially taken should come in black. Admission is $10 for singles and $15 for couples at this 21 and over event that starts at 9 p.m.

Saturday

The Vermont Arts Exchange brings Gypsy Layne to the stage at Old Castle Theatre at 331 Main Street, Bennington. Gypsy Layne's hallmark of bawdy humor, live music, dynamic dance routines and cheeky sex appeal are prominently featured in their latest extravaganza, which takes the stage at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance, $26 at the door, $15 for students.

For more information, visit www.brownpapertickets.com or call 1-800-838-3006.

If Valentine's Day has become too much for you, then perhaps some savory pork fat will help. For the folks at The Meat Market in Great Barrington, nothing says "I love you" like treating yourself, or that special someone, to a pig roast. At 7 p.m., join the rest of the meat eaters at the "Lonely Heart's Pig Roast," for $40 per person. A cash bar will also be available to drown your sorrows. Call (413) 528-2022 or visit www.themeatmarket.com for more information.

Catch a timeless romantic flick at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. The 1942-classic "Casablanca" will be shown at 7 p.m. All seats are $7. "Here's looking at you, kid.