Need Valentine's Day ideas? Check out these Ellicott City events and specials to help make the holiday a memorable one.

Barnes & Noble bookstore is hosting a free storytime for kids featuring Valentine's Day-themed picture books on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 11 a.m. in the children's department. Storytime is offered every Monday and Thursday at 11 a.m. for kids of all ages.

Barnes & Nobles is in the Long Gate Shopping Center on Montgomery Road. For more information, call the store's community relations manager Julie Martin at 410-203-900.

The Pottery Stop on Route 40 is offering a Valentine's Day special from 5 to 10 p.m. According to owner Maegan Supple, customers will be treated to music, candles, flowers and chocolates while they paint individual pieces of pottery. Walk-ins are welcome, although reservations are suggested by contacting the store at 410-480-0111 or info@thepotterystop.com.

Dining out for the big day? A number of Ellicott City restaurants are offering specials or prix fixe menus including the Rumor Mill Fusion Bar and Restaurant, Tersiguel's French County restaurant, Tea on the Tiber Victorian Tea Room and Alexandra's at Turf Valley to name a few.

Dinner and dancing? La Palapa Grill & Cantina will celebrate Valentine's Day by offering customers complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries and free 30-minute salsa dance lessons with Eileen Torres from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Popping the question on Valentine's Day? Not only is Kelsey's restaurant serving a prix fixe dinner special, but when the big moment comes, you'll have the luck of the Irish on your side. In their 18 years of Irish hospitality, the restaurant has had 22 successful marriage proposals.

Music director Ronald Mutchnik and members of the Orchestra of St. John's present "Sweet Romance," a concert performance of light classical and popular tunes, plus an audience sing-along, Sunday, Feb. 17, at 3 p.m., at 4222 Club Court, Ellicott City.

Sponsored by the Anthony Corrao Team of Long and Foster real estate, the show will feature refreshments by Tersiguel's French Country restaurant, wine provided by the Wine Bin and a tea and honey basket door prize by Randy and Steve's General Store.

Tickets are $50 per person and seating is limited. Reservations are required by calling 410-461-0618. Proceeds will benefit the Orchestra of St. John's. For more information go to the Orchestra's website at http://www.orchestraofstjohns.org/events.

Calling all chocolate (and bacon) lovers. Main Street Ellicott City's Sweet Cascades chocolatier shop has a selection of traditional and "creatively unique" treats to help you celebrate the holdiay. From chocolate dipped strawberry bouquets, truffles and cremes to chocolate covered bacon, Old Bay seasoned chocolate crabs, and even chocolate covered wine bottles, there is something for every chocolate lover at Cascades. Go to the Sweet Cascades website at http://www.sweetcascadeschocolatier.com.

Take a Valentine's Day stroll through the free exhibits at the Howard County Center for the Arts. Weekday gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the center's two current exhibits. The Hoco Open 2013 showcases the diverse work of 77 community artists in watercolor, oil painting, collage, line drawing, photography and ceramics.

And the Nature in Focus show features close-up botanical photography by Barbara Hoffman and Richard Weiblinger. Although the exhibits are family friendly, children under 18 years old are required to be accompanied by an adult while in the gallery. For more information, go to the Howard County Center for the Arts website at http://www.hocoarts.org.

Extend the Valentine's Day love to helping veterans in our area. In partnership with Bob Evans restaurant, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7472, invite you to participate in the Post's Veterans Relief fundraiser Sat., Feb. 16, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Simply print a flyer (found on the Post's website) and present it at the restaurant when you check out. Bob Evans will donate 15% of your bill to the Veterans Relief Fund. For more information and to download the flyer, go to the Post's website at http://www.vfw7472.org .

Mark your calendars. Centennial High School Friends of Music is hosting a bingo night Friday, March 1, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., in the cafeteria. Open to the public, this family friendly event costs $8 per person and includes a bingo card, a slice of pizza and a drink. Additional food is available for purchase.

Check out the themed prize packages and enjoy a performance by the CHS Jazz Band. All proceeds support the CHS music program.