‘Cute little keepsakes’: Berkeley community celebrates Valentine’s Day

Photo of Valentine's Day cards
Charlene Wang/Staff
Various organizations and businesses in Berkeley are planning events to celebrate Valentine's Day.

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Love is in the air, and as Valentine’s Day approaches, campus organizations and local businesses are selling sweet treats and trinkets for community members to gift their loved ones.

In addition to the traditional bouquets and heart-centric jewelry being available from local vendors, businesses such as So-so Market and Boichik Bagels are offering Valentine’s exclusive products. Cards, sweets and free safer sex supplies are also expected to be sold and given at Sproul Plaza by various clubs in the upcoming week.

“Valentine’s Day is definitely a sexy holiday,” said UC Berkeley Sexual Health Education Program student leader Jenna Holbrook. “People feel more empowered to discuss their sexuality and advocate for themselves or reach out for those materials like safer sex supplies.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly impacted the way that people spend their money and whether they decide to buy products online or at a “brick and mortar” store, said Julie Ewer, an employee of Bill’s Trading Post.

Ewer added, however, that she believes being a storefront located in Berkeley is a different experience than other places as she believes that the community understands the importance of supporting local businesses.

“Everything in our store is handmade and one-of-a-kind,” Ewer said. “Some of the pieces that we’ve created recently were made in the shop, and they’re a little delicate … They’re just cute little keepsakes.”

Boichik Bagels will be selling heart-shaped bagels and a “Big Gay Day Vday Box” in collaboration with Wooden Table and Third Culture Bakery, according to Boichik Bagels owner Emily Winston. Winston added that the collaboration on the box is a nod to how the three businesses are “queer-owned.”

The bagels will only be available for pickup on Valentine’s Day, while the boxes will be available for pick-up at Wooden Table on Saturday and Sunday, Winston noted.

On Feb 12., So-so Market will be holding a Valentine’s vintage market at 2362 Bancroft Way, according to So-so Market event coordinator Xitlaly Peña, where a variety of local vendors will be selling vintage and handmade items, as well as baked goods.

As for campus, clubs such as Sigma Omicron Pi, Global Medical Missions Alliance and Volunteers for Medical Outreach will be selling Valentine’s grams on Sproul Plaza that include a “variety of gifts,” according to emails from representatives of these organizations.

The UC Berkeley Sexual Health Education Program will also be providing sexual education and free safer sex supplies around campus throughout the week of Feb. 14, according to Holbrook.

“We really want to encourage folks to feel empowered to reach out to the sexperts tabling and ask questions about sexual debuts, about ways to set boundaries for themselves, and really explore their options and their own attitudes regarding sex and sexuality,” Holbrook said.

Contact Karen Vo at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @karenvo_DC.