1. Visit a gallery of local artists

The Arts Council of Carteret County will open its signature event Art from the Heart, an exhibition and sale of original artwork created by artists from multiple Eastern North Carolina counties, starting Friday, Feb. 17. The exhibit will be held in the west end of Morehead Plaza, in the 2900 block of Arendell Street in Morehead City, between Snap Fitness Center and The Tractor Supply Store. Admission to the gallery is free. For more information, call 252-726-9156.

2. Support the special needs community

Valentine’s Special Needs Dance, free sensory-sensitive dance for the special needs community, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Sneads Ferry Community Center. Family and caregivers are welcome. For more information or to sign up, visit the Special Needs Community of Onslow and Pender Counties page on Facebook.

3. Play poker for a cause

Rolling Thunder NC-5 hosts its annual Chilly Chili Poker Run fundraiser on Feb. 18 at Lejeune Motorsports, 955 Lejeune Blvd. Registration for the poker run begins at 9 a.m. There will be food, door prizes and 50/50 raffle. Proceeds to benefit the SSgt Anthony Goodwin Memorial Scholarship Fund. For more information, call 910-358-3652.

4. Learn about the VFW

Holly Ridge VFW No. 9983 Auxiliary will be hosting an Open House from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at 188 Hines Stump Sound Church Road in Holly Ridge. Find out about the club and what they do for area veterans and their families. Memberships available with free snacks and drinks available at the canteen.

5. Celebrate Black History Month

Onslow County Public Library celebrates Black History Month featuring the movie “Race: The Incredible True Story of Gold Medal Legend, Jesse Owens” at 2 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Main Library. For more information, call 910-455-7350.

6. Cars and coffee

Enjoy free coffee and fellowship with other car enthusiasts Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9 a.m. until noon at Beauty and the Beast’s headquarters, located in Jacksonville at 2043 Lejeune Blvd.

7. Catch a flick

In theaters this weekend is the “The Great Wall” starring Matt Damon as a European mercenary who becomes embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures; “Fist Fight” rated R and starring Charlie Day and Ice Cube as teachers who plan to fight after one is responsible for the other’s firing; and the eerie “A Cure for Wellness,” rated R, wherein a young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a mysterious “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps where the treatments are not what they seem.

8. Count birds

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count runs from Friday through Monday. People are encouraged to spend 15 minutes watching birds and then report the types and numbers online at gbbc.birdcount.org. This is good opportunity for parents to get their children interested in nature, and parents will enjoy the experience, too. The website above has more information on what to do and kids’ activities as well.

9. NASCAR returns

NASCAR returns to action this weekend with the Advance Auto Parts Clash taking place Saturday at Daytona. The race is at 8 p.m. and can be viewed on FOX Sports 1.

10. Watch basketball

This is also NBA All-Star weekend, with three days of events planned, including the All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday, the slam-dunk contest and rookie game on Saturday and the main event on Sunday. Head to the local sports bar or hold a party to celebrate. The All-Star Game is Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.

11. Love your pet

Monday, Feb. 20, is Love Your Pet Day, a day when pet owners are encouraged to pamper their pets and show them how much they love them. You can start early this weekend and take your dog for a walk in the park, go to a pet store and buy some treats or just spend more time than usual with your family friend.