When Feb. 14 looms, all the folks with spouses and sweethearts begin to dream of romantic getaways and candlelit dinners.

But according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 52 percent of Americans older than 15 live with their legally married spouses, and a full 28.6 percent have never been married.

Factor in those with a deployed spouse, along with those who are widowed, separated, between relationships or otherwise not part of a couple, and it’s evident that a sizable chuck of us will be spending Valentine’s Day alone.

Cause for tears and heartache? Hardly.

Whether with a friend of the same sex or on your own, there’s plenty to do on Valentine’s Day weekend, which falls on Feb. 12-13 this year. And if you plan to take advantage of any advertised specials, check to see if the promoter will allow you to double up with a buddy.

For example, many of the local offices of the USO offer special trip packages that can just as easily be booked by friends sharing a room or single travelers paying a small supplementary charge. The “Valentine’s Day in Paris” tour sponsored by the USO in Kaiserslautern, Germany, includes an overnight hotel stay, city tour, dinner and a river cruise for about $330. Same-sex travelers can simply ditch the long-stemmed rose from the table and enjoy the lovely French cuisine without worrying about overindulging in the presence of a partner’s overcritical eye.

In fact, you might find the smattering of events listed below more conducive to excursions with a friend than with a partner.

In Derby, England, you can toast your freedom and work on a date for next Valentine’s Day by heading to an event that draws people of like interest. Beer lovers come in both sexes, and tasting it can be fun, educational and for a good cause. The Campaign for Real Ale, or CAMRA, holds a winter beer festival in Derby from until Saturday.

CAMRA is an independent consumer organization that champions consumer rights in relation to the beer and drinks industry, aiming to promote quality, choice and appreciation of traditional beers and ciders as part of heritage and culture. If you’re already booked this weekend, CAMRA sponsors a variety of beer festivals throughout the year (

If your old love was figure skating, you can recapture your childhood dream of becoming a world-class skater, or work on inspiring a new generation, by gliding over to Munich to see “Holiday on Ice.” The show’s theme is “Diamond Dreams,” and it’s running through Sunday at the Olympiahalle. At press time, tickets were still available through

For those who still love to skate, you can show off your double Salchow at a rink set up in front of the Hotel de Ville in Paris from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Best of all, it’s free. Skate rental is available (

If not skating, there’s tennis. The Open Gaz de France takes place through Sunday at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris. The entrants in this women’s tournament include last year’s Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, this year’s Australian Open winner Serena Williams, former No. 1 Amélie Mauresmo and Elena Dementieva. Some seats are still available (

Intrepid female travelers might be interested in learning more about their forebears. The cycle of films titled “Cinéastes voyageuses des années 20-60” being screened at the cinemas of the Centre Pompidou through Sunday pay tribute to 16 female photographers, writers, filmmakers and journalists who traveled the world between 1920 and 1950. These works tell us much about women’s contributions towards early documentary filmmaking. Saturday’s offering showcases the work of Laura Bolton in the Arctic; on Sunday, Marie-Alice Hackin’s film of archaeological expeditions to Afganistan is screened. On both days, the work of Mary Marvin Breckenridge Patterson, a war correspondent for CBS during World War II, is presented. (Web site:

Anglers, cast your sights on Verona, Italy. There at the Exhibition Center, you will find a show focusing on sport fishing through Sunday. The fishing exhibition is part of a larger event, the Nautical Show, where boat lovers can lose themselves in a world of yachts, inboard and outboard motorboats, and sailboats of all descriptions (

American football is a manly sport, but it has nothing on rugby. Rome is the venue for one of the Six Nations Championship games, where you can see Italy and Wales ( battle it out Saturday at Stadio Flaminio. For something different: Women also play rugby on a professional level. On Sunday, England’s women take on France at Imber Court near Twickenham, U.K. (

The enjoyment of a concert wouldn’t be diminished by attending with a same-sex buddy. Anastacia will be raising the room temperature a few degrees when she performs Friday in Bolzano, Italy, and Sunday in Graz, Austria. And old favorite R.E.M. will may stir up a few memories when it performs Saturday in Stuttgart, Germany. To get tickets at such a late date, however, you’d need to resort to using a ticket agency.

Those setting up house or in need of fresh ideas for their old digs can check out “Ambiente,” at the Frankfurter Messe Friday through Tuesday. This exhibition of consumer goods is geared toward not only retailers but all those in love with the world of design. Product groupings include table, kitchen, housewares, and gift articles, to name only a few of the more than 100 exhibitions. Running parallel to this in Messe Offenbach is an exhibition of the latest trends in Asian living (

Car lovers may wish to head to Amsterdam to check out AutoRAI. Through Feb. 20, 11 exhibition halls full of automobiles from 62 different makers including Aston Martin, Corvette, Ferrari, Lotus and Maybach are on display.

The show’s theme is “Excitement, Fun, Inspiration and Passion,” and if you find yourself just one of the four mentioned, that wouldn’t be a bad day out, now, would it? (

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