Valentine’s Day will be hosted a bit differently on Feb. 9 at the Best Western Ashland House.

Instead of a traditional romantic flair, there will be a murder mystery for guests to help solve.

The Ashland House will be hosting the “Unlucky In Love” Murder Mystery Dinner and Wine Tasting from 6-10 p.m. Feb. 9. The murder mystery is the second one they have done on Valentine’s Day, with other themed ones, such as Christmas and Halloween, being done before.

“We’ve done several of them in the past. It’s something that we came up with,” General Manager Matt Nash said. “We had some open dates where we were trying to figure out what we could do that people would enjoy. It was something different. There are not a lot of them going on in the area.”

He added that the response has been good each time one has been held. The first one brought in about 65 people, but since then there’s been upwards of 120 people at some dinners.

“Really you want probably around 80 to 120 people,” Nash said. “There’s not too many but there are enough people. We want guest participation, and that’s about the right amount.”

In among the guests will be five to eight actors interacting with everyone. The actors, from the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company, will mingle with guests and joke about other guests or actors, among other things.

The evening will start at 6 p.m. with guest arrival and letting the actors talk to everyone in character. At 7 p.m., a trio of hors d’oeuvres, the wine paring, Tuscan panzanella salad and choice of dinner will be served.

Patrons can choose from French cut pork with apple reduction sauce or an Alaskan salmon with mango-lime chutney. Both will be served with asiago potato gratin, garlic ginger buttered carrots and Panini rolls.

The dessert will be orange crème Catalina.

During the dinner, the show “Unlucky In Love” will take place. Jodi Helms, the director of sales and catering, said the show focuses on the Baron and Baroness Von Ludwig as they host an engagement party for their daughter, Heidi. During the party, murder will come into play and the guests will help figure out the culprit.

Nash added that audience members may even be pulled up as the culprit at the end depending on how interactions go.

“The more people you have that can interact and bounce off each other the better it is and the more fun it is for everybody,” he said.

Reservations are $40 per person, and can be made until Monday by calling 266-8200 or emailing

“With tax and gratuity, it’s about $100 per couple, which is a really great price for what you’re getting,” Beal said. “It’s a unique experience and a great thing to bring your sweetie to and you get wine, dinner and a show. You can’t beat that. You don’t have to deal with crowds trying to get into a restaurant.”