Worcester Weekly: stART at the Station, two strolls, ‘Wonderful Life’ + more, Dec. 3-9

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Dec. 3 — stART at the Station, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Grand Hall and Concourse, Union Station, Washington Square  This is the stop to get gift shopping stARTed and your holidays on track. Some 135 local artisans will be on hand with items that are beautiful, unusual, useful or whimsical. There will be a stART Lounge, too, with a lineup of local performers, offering a break from the crafts and/or crowds. Organizers promise wider aisles this year, but trust us, this thing is chaotic — in a merry sort of way.

Admission is free; early entry from 9 to 11 a.m. costs $10, which will support stART and could get you first dibs on some of the delights. Parking is $1 at the Union Station Garage at 225 Franklin St.

Editorial: A toy that’s too real

Better laws, and better sense by the public, should be preventing what almost happened in Spencer last week.

A toy gun could have caused a shooting from a real one during a routine traffic stop.

Tuesday night, officers pulled over a car on Meadow Road in Spencer for speeding, according to a Facebook post by the Spencer Police Department. “The rear seat passenger of the vehicle was reaching for the floor as the officer approached,” the post reads. “It was obvious that the occupants had smoked marijuana from the strong odor that came from the interior.”

The officer noticed what looked like a holster for a firearm on the floor of the vehicle, and ordered all three occupants to step out.

Worcester Weekly: Festival of Crafts, holiday concerts + more, Nov. 26-Dec. 2

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Nov. 26 — 35th annual Holiday Festival of Crafts, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Worcester Center for Crafts, 25 Sagamore Road  Still nursing that shiner from your unsuccessful Wal-Mart tussle for the last available Nintendo Switch on Black Friday? Soothe those wounds on Sunday, which marks the end of a three-day run for this “buy local” Worcester tradition that features the handmade goods of more than 60 artisans from across New England.

Worcester Weekly: Municipal Election, ‘A Christmas Story’ + more, Nov. 5-11

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Nov. 5 — Worcester Railers vs. Reading Royals, 3:05 p.m., DCU Center, 50 Foster St.  The Railers may not pack the DCU Center every night, but it appears the team’s decision makers loaded the roster with talent.

Patrick McNally is tied for eighth in the ECHL with 5 goals, after scoring again in Friday’s 4-2 win over the Royals. (He scored four goals in two AHL seasons with the San Jose Barracuda after a standout career at Harvard.) McNally’s plus-11 rating was tops in the league after Friday’s games, and the T&G’s Bill Ballou, who’s seen a few hockey games in his long career, says McNally looks like one of the best players in the ECHL.

Railers’ Lannon hopes to have extended comeback up his sleeves

Ryan Lannon’s plans for this winter included a cross-country road trip and selling sportcoats. Well, not just any sportcoats, actually.

“It’s kind of a niche market,” Lannon said. “It’s a business casual athletic look. No one else makes short-sleeve [sportcoats].”

Inspired by summer weddings on Cape Cod in which the men scorch and sweat in the heat, Lannon planned to drive to locales where it’s hot year-round, such as Southern California, to sell his short-sleeve sportcoats as well as other apparel.

It sounds like a wild idea. But it’s not the only time Lannon has had one of those. He said his parents are used to him telling them he’s going to do something a little, well, unexpected.

Like, for example, when he told them last month he wanted to come out of retirement four years after his last game as a professional hockey player to join up with the expansion Worcester Railers of the ECHL.

Nothing but net profit — St. John’s hoop star scores big-league video game endorsement

Wondering what the future could hold for gaming and paying student athletes? Find out with author BJ Hill in the Sun’s serial glimpse into the fantastic, fascinating (and mostly fictional) possibilities of a not-so distant tomorrow.

April 22, 2028 — Saint John’s High School junior Donnie Dwyer signed his intention papers to affiliate with Rideout Entertainment Ltd. at a Friday press conference in Shrewsbury. The agreement means that Rideout can use Donnie’s likeness in the upcoming release of “Class of 2029,” the newest installment of the popular video game series based on local high school basketball. In return, his parents received one of the largest-ever checks for a high school talent. Dwyer, who grew up on Woods Avenue before his family moved to Holden, is the latest student to be picked up by the Nashville-based video game company. Its flagship series, “Class of …,” allows subscribers to play as high school basketball teams hyper-local to their markets and divisions.

A subscriber in Auburn, for example, can play as a team in and against the Southern Worcester County League, while a subscriber in Henderson, Nebraska, could compete in that state’s Division 1, District 8. If more variety is desired, upgrading to the Platinum Version allows fans to play as any school’s team across the country.

Since Rideout’s first release, “Class of 2021,” about 3,400 student-athletes nationwide have been chosen for inclusion in their boys’ basketball series, and another 700 in their newer “Friday Night Lights” football series.

More What if … Worcester: Gardens and gargoyles: Dilapidated churches grow into urban farms

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 208]: Worcester and the Railers, love at first ice

Worcester is a town that likes to get its buzz on.

Whether it’s the Amazon and PawSox bids, City Square, the Canal District, airport and rail innovation, solar farms or yellow bicycles, as long as the Woo’s trending, the powers-that-be are happy.

Cliff Rucker and Worcester Railers HC have quickly become a driving force of buzz-worthiness, and the team’s debut to more than 12,000 raucous fans at the DCU Center pulsed even more electricity through downtown.

Hitch, for one, is charged up.

Worcester Weekly: Mayoral debate, Fall Fest on the Common + more, Oct. 22-28

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Oct. 22 — Great Pumpkin Nights, 6-9 p.m., EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way  Want to feel old? (“No,” says everybody ever — but let’s play along.) The classic autumn TV special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” debuted 51 years ago this week, Oct. 27, 1966. Forget lollipops and Halloween candy, Linus is bringing Activia to the pumpkin patch these days.

A better way to feel young again would be the EcoTarium’s 14th annual Halloween-themed fundraiser. More than 3,000 professionally carved jack-o’-lanterns and pumpkin displays light up the museum grounds (well, not all the way; bring a flashlight!). “Friendly” costumes encouraged. Trick-or-treating, entertainment and more fun.

Sina-cism: For those taking a knee, it’s 4th down

It’s fourth down for athletes taking a knee to protest racial injustice and oppression in America.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Our stand-up-for-Old-Glory millionaire billionaire president, who in his spare time runs the country, was both impetuous and intemperate in his recent spats with the kneel-during-the-anthem millionaires who in their spare time play football.

But Trump was also mostly right.

Sure, NFL players are free to express themselves, as are those who follow their example, such as Doherty High player Mike Oppong, who a year ago took a knee to protest injustice. But that which is permissible is not always wise.

Worcester Weekly: Clark zombies, WPI football + more, Oct. 15-21

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Monday, Oct. 16 — Hops & Harmony at the Hall, 6 p.m. [doors open at 5:30], Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St.  Sometimes all it takes is a little liquid courage to let your inner Bruno Mars or Lady Gaga out of the shower and into the eardrums of — gasp! — real, live other people. Disclaimer: the Worcester Sun and its affiliates do not recommend consuming alcohol in the shower (unless you’re in a 1980s baseball movie).

Still in its infancy, the Hops & Harmony series is intended to be “a fun night of live music with audience participation. Enjoy time with friends, meet new ones, and learn popular music in three parts for fun and YouTube stardom. This get-out-of-the-house experience is a great way to unwind and let loose after a long day.” Tickets are $5.