Plentiful festival opportunities keep social calendar lively 

Harsh winter weather might tempt metro dwellers to huddle up in their caves until the frost thaws, but there are too many top-notch events going on this season to suspend extracurricular activities completely.

Valentine's Day will inspire thousands of couples to sweep out across the city's restaurants and night clubs. St. Patrick's Day has its own parade downtown, plus lots of metro bars will bring out the Irish in everyone. But those are just two days out of the season, so keep your ears perked for events worthy to brave the foul weather.

For instance, this weekend is the Scarlet's Mid-Winter Renaissance Festival and a pirate-themed masked ball at the Farmers Public Market, held Saturday and Sunday. All of the weekend's entertainment will be family-friendly.

Robert Mullens, owner of FoxMoon Productions, started Scarlet's as an off-season event to allow vendors, performers and fans of the Renaissance festival scene to keep active. Billed as the largest indoor event of its kind in the region, there will be music, stage combat demonstrations, mermaids, pirate movies, a performing bear named Byron T. Bear and all manner of period-themed fun.

Before patrons strap on their codpieces and eye patches, it might be good to brush up on the ongoing tale of the pirate king, Capt. O'Hara. The running theme of the festival progresses year to year, providing an evolving plot for the pirate ball. The drama then unfolds onstage, setting up a cliffhanger to bring attendees back the following year.

"The story line started while the pirate king was away and Scarlet was in charge. Scarlet is our 7-foot-tall fox," Mullens said. "He threw a party while the king was away. By the third festival, Capt. O'Hara returned home after retiring from piracy, providing a safe haven for pirates, buccaneers and other lords and ladies of good fortune, where they can come and be at peace and safe from the flags that fly the seas and don't appreciate the reacquisition of wealth."

SUMMONING THE PIRATES
A mysterious, ruthless pirate going by the name of Ruthless appeared last year by swinging from the Farmers Public Market mezzanine down to the stage to reveal that it was "¦ O'Hara's sister! This year, Mullens said the Spanish Armada is threatening the safe haven, so a council of pirates is being summoned.

A weekend pass is $35; one-day tickets for the festival are $7 for seniors, military and children, and $11 for adults 13 and up. Tickets to the catered ball are $18.

Looking for something a bit more low-key? Come hobnob with the upper crust at the Petroleum Club on Feb. 12 for the Vintage Oklahoma Wine & Art Festival. Tickets are $60, which allows patrons to mingle across two floors of fine art and Oklahoma wines, and benefits the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.

Those worried about a hobbled stock market might look into art as a commodity. But to make money in art, one needs to buy early into a talented artist's career.

Enter "Momentum," a sprawling, annual multimedia event held March 6 and 7 at 320 S.W. Fifth.

By limiting art submissions to those 30 years and younger, "Momentum" aims to give Oklahomans a glimpse into the state's vital visual future. The art world is a notoriously hard nut to crack, so "Momentum" gives up-and-coming voices an opportunity to step out of the shadow of their elders. In turn, it gives patrons the chance to buy quality work before the artist can charge what it is really worth.

"?Charles Martin

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