Thursday, February 11: Raise a glass to celebrate the 11th annual Washington, D.C. International Wine & Food Festival, which kicks off today and runs through Sunday. Held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, the festival showcases local and international wines with food pairings. The opening reception, tonight from 6 to 8 at PS 7’s, features wines with hors d’oeuvres created by chef/owner Peter Smith and Equinox’s Todd Gray. Tickets are $50. For more information on the reception and other festival events, click here.
Head to the Black Catto see John Davis’s new band, Title Tracks, hit the stage. Formerly of Q and Not U as well as Georgie James, Davis knows how to put together catchy hooks and fun songs. 9 PM; $10.
The 1990s dance party Peach Pit gets all gooey and sentimental with a Valentine’s Day-themed party at the Eritrean restaurant Dahlak (1771 U Street, NW) . DJs Matt Bailer and Robert Robert Bozik will be behind the turntable. There's no cover charge. 10 PM.
Once Upon a Prom, a local nonprofit that provides scholarships and prom dresses to underprivileged young women, is hosting a Kisses and Cupid benefit event at Napoleon Bistro. There's a $10 suggested donation entrance fee, and candigrams can be purchased in advance here for $5. 8 PM. Friday, February 12: Mardi Gras is on the menu through February 16 at Central Michel Richard. Look for New Orleans food specials and hurricane cocktails at the bar. On Fat Tuesday (February 16), you’ll find a jazz band and leave strewn with Mardi Gras beads. Call 202-626-0015 for reservations.
Let’s have us a rockabilly party! The musical genre’s legendary queen, Wanda Jackson, will perform at the Black Cat’s mainstage, and the band the Lustre Kings will open. Tickets ($20) can be purchased here. 9 PM.
Pre-sale tickets for Speakeasy DC’s Sucker for Love event at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room—in which a group of people talk about love, sex, romance, and dating—are sold out, but you can still grab a standing-room ticket for $10 at the door. There are three shows: Friday and Saturday at 8, and Sunday at 7. For more information, go here. Saturday, February 13: Today, many of us refer to it as “better than sex,” but to the Aztec people, chocolate was a “food of the gods.” The National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a program about chocolate, exploring its origins, history, and cultural standing in past and contemporary societies. Visitors will get a chance to grind their own cacao beans and froth hot chocolate. The program runs Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 to 4:30.
Regress to high school . . . . in the 1950s at Velvet Lounge’s pre-Valentine’s Day Sock Hop party. DJs Kid Congo Powers and Baby Alcatraz will provide the music—pardon us—the jams. The dance party takes place in the downstairs area. 9 PM.
The State Theatrein Falls Church hosts a Mardi Grass party sponsored by PartyDC.com. The 1980s band Gonzo’s Nose, DJ Bead-o-Matic, and the Dave Matthews cover band Crowded Street will play on all three levels. Masks will be distributed to the first 200 people. 8 PM. To purchase tickets ($7 in advance, $14 at the door), go here.
Sunday, February 14: It’s the big old V Day. Check out ourValentine’s Day guide for everything you could possibly need, from last-minute restaurant reservations to the area’s best chocolate shops to saucy lingerie options.
Valentine’s Day isn’t the only thing worth celebrating today. Expressions of a People, a daylong festival for Black History Month, will offer dance workshops, films, bellydancing, and a gospel choir. The party, at Harmony Hall Regional Center (10701 Livingston Rd., Ft. Washington; 301-203-6070), goes from 1 to 7.
Head to Alexandria’s Gadsby’s Tavern Museum for the annual George Washington Birthnight Banquet & Ball. Enjoy food, drinks, dancing, and historical reenactments. Guests are invited to wear period costumes, though they’re not required. Tickets are $100 to the dinner and ball and $50 to the ball only.
It sounds a little too (500) Days of Summer to us, but who says you can’t find love while sorting through record crates? The Vinyl District, Som Records, and DC Soul Recordings have teamed up for a Valentine’s Day edition of the DC Record Fair. More than 30 record dealers will be at the Black Cat’s mainstage from noon to 6. A slate of DJs, including Bluebrain, Kid Congo Powers, Casper Bangs, and more, will spin music throughout the day. For more information, click here.
NASCAR lovers with a sense of humor should check out the Daytona 500 viewing party at Porter’s Dining Saloon, where a prize will be awarded to the customer who sports the best redneck outfit. Food specials include burgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken, and there’ll be cheap beer and boxed wine. Noon.