Worcester Weekly: Oktoberfest, Worcester State football + more, Sept. 24-30

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

Tuesday, Sept. 26 — Architectural Scavenger Hunt, 5-7:30 p.m., Leo’s Ristorante, 11 Leo Turo Way  There are so many new buildings going up in Worcester, it can be easy to forget about the treasure trove of historic, intriguing and captivating old buildings that continue to lend character, culture and rising heating bills to every hilly neighborhood and winding one-way street in the city.

Sina-cism: Railers follow in IceCats’, Sharks’ tracks — but, how closely?

The season opener for the Worcester Railers — the city’s third minor-league hockey franchise in recent history — is being seen by some as a chance to net success where the previous two clubs, the IceCats and Sharks, failed.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

I wish the Railers good luck, but how wrongheaded to think of the IceCats and Sharks as failed teams.

The IceCats arrived here in 1994 from Springfield, played 11 American Hockey League seasons, then left for Peoria, Illinois. They are now the AHL’s Utica Comets. The Sharks, after nine years in Worcester, are now the San Jose Barracuda, sharing an arena with their parent, the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.

The list of current and former AHL teams is long. With a few exceptions — the Hershey Bears (1938), Rochester Americans (1956), and Providence Bruins (1992) — AHL teams come and go with great frequency. Many number their seasons in single digits.

Editorial: Oohs and aahs for ofo

Oof, those seven hills!

Other than that, ofo’s arrival in Worcester signals a city coasting smoothly forward.

On Thursday, the Beijing-based company launched its bike-sharing program in a ceremony at City Hall, capping months of preparing and research helped by local leaders and scholars. The stars of the cheerful kickoff were dozens of bright-yellow ofo bikes, ready to get going under the guidance of anyone over the age of 18 with a smartphone, a dollar and an hour.

A little ofo 101 is in order. Don’t be fooled: These substantial, simply styled bicycles may look old-fashioned, but they’re as high-tech as they come.

Worcester Weekly: stART on the Street, Clustertruck + more, Sept. 17-23

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

Sunday, Sept. 17 — stART on the Street, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Park Avenue, between Highland and Pleasant streets  If you’re going to bring gridlock to the heart of the city, you might as well do it with hundreds of talented artists, crafters and performers, and a list of activities longer than the backup on Chandler Street. That’s the great thing about stART on the Street — with so many cool things to see and do, for once nobody’s worried about the traffic.

The Muse is inspired to remain a part of Worcester’s downtown revival

Upon opening its doors two years ago, The Muse, 536 Main St., across the street from Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, intended to build upon the momentum of the city’s revitalization plans.

Coming to Federal Square during the much-ballyhooed “downtown renaissance,” The Muse owners John Rinaldo and Matt Kingman set forth to be a part of the bigger picture. Cultivating a brand based on the anticipated vibes of new visitors and returning friends with hip cocktails and craft beer, The Muse has added something flagrantly unique to the urban lifestyle trend in Worcester.

Coupled with its tight embrace of the city’s flourishing arts scene, The Muse quickly set itself apart from the typical Worcester bar.

With more than 30 years of hospitality experience and a hearty helping of inspiration from other forward-thinking business owners like Alec Lopez, owner of Armsby Abbey and The Dive, Rinaldo saw Worcester for what it truly is: a blank canvas.

Worcester Weekly: Holy Cross football, preliminary election + more, Sept. 10-16

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

Monday, Sept. 11 — Lecture: Government’s Role in Segregation, 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall, College of the Holy Cross, 1 College St.  “Racial segregation characterizes every metropolitan area in the [United States] and bears responsibility for our most serious social and economic problems.” This is the crux of the argument author Richard Rothstein will discuss, based on his 2017 book “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.”

A fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who has written a number of books on race, education and social equality, Rothstein said segregation — more specifically, how it happened — is no mystery; it was forged from the policies (“racially explicit and unconstitutional”) and politics of the mid-20th century. And it will linger until we learn from this history. Free and open to the public.

Doherty’s Tajon Vassar a fast-rising star for the Highlanders

In many ways, Tajon Vassar is a microcosm of the entire Doherty football team.

An overlooked kid who puts in the work, plays both sides of the ball, and is trying to live up to the accomplishments of his older brother, Vassar embodies the traits of many on this year’s hopeful Highlanders.

Now a junior, Vassar still has some things to prove, but after a breakout sophomore campaign much will be expected of the electric running back and defensive back.

“We’re lucky with Tajon, because he’s one of our best players, if not our best player, and he’s also the hardest worker,” Doherty coach Sean Mulcahy said. “You don’t always have that. He works hard, and he’s gotten physically bigger and stronger this offseason, which will obviously help.”

Sound of (Mass) Fury signifies nothing but football for those who just won’t quit

The overwhelming majority of athletes stop playing their favorite sports at the youth, high school or college level. Without a ticket, the bright lights of Gillette Stadium or Fenway Park are out of reach.

There are options, though, for the weekend warriors who just can’t bring themselves to hang up the cleats or tag their dusty old shoulder pads for the next yard sale. And who don’t mind slightly dimmer lighting.

The semi-professional Eastern Football League has provided a competitive oasis for scholastic and collegiate gridiron greats since 1961 — many area fans may remember the long-dominant Marlborough Shamrocks — and for the past several years the Worcester-based Mass Fury have been winning trophies and keeping dreams alive.

Coach Justin McKay brings tireless work ethic to St. Peter-Marian football

If you had to describe Justin McKay’s days during football season in one word, it would definitely be “long.”

On the Guardians’ first day of camp, McKay had his new players in the meeting room at 1 p.m., on the practice field at 5 p.m., and ready to go home about 7:30.

But there would be little rest for St. Peter-Marian’s football team, as the Guardians were back at it in the school auditorium at 7 a.m. the following morning, playbooks in hand, ready to learn McKay’s offensive and defensive systems.

“We’re trying to make this feel like a college football camp,” McKay said during his first practice at SPM. “We’ve got meetings and practice in the same day, and everything we’re doing, we’re doing like a big-time program. We just got the field painted, we’ve got the music playing, and the kids have brought the energy so far.”

Indeed they had, but that doesn’t mean his captains didn’t notice the extra workload.

“It was intense,” senior captain Matt Dumphy said of the team’s first day. “It was a lot more this year, but we’re ready for it. In the past, we would maybe do four hours on the first day. This year was six or seven, but we’re learning a lot.”

More from the Sun Football Forecast:

  • Local football stars to watch on Saturdays and Sundays |  So, if you want to keep track of the Worcester County boys now playing at football’s highest levels, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a handy list of, and outlook for, every CMass native playing in the NFL and the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
  • Worcester’s Yiadom primed for big senior season at BC |  The Doherty legend’s name has come up a lot more in talks about the best players in the formidable Atlantic Coast Conference. But to senior DB Isaac Yiadom, that’s all just noise. “I don’t really listen to any of that, I just have to keep doing what I always do.”
  • Wachusett’s Tyler Catalina’s journey to an NFL roster spot |  “I’ve got to keep working and showing the coaches I can handle anything they throw at me,” Catalina said in mid-August. Those coaches, it seems, have seen something from the 325-pounder, who has earned a backup role on the Washington Redskins offensive line.

Sina-cism: An Italian coast steeped in history

If the Amalfi Coast isn’t all that it used to be, blame John Steinbeck.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

In May 1953, Steinbeck published his essay “Positano” in Harper’s Bazaar, bringing the picturesque fishing villages of the Italian coast south of Naples to the attention of an increasingly affluent American public.

“Nearly always when you find a place as beautiful as Positano,” Steinbeck wrote, “your impulse is to conceal it. You think, ‘If I tell, it will be crowded with tourists and they will ruin it, turn it into a honky-tonk and then the local people will get touristy and there’s your lovely place gone to hell.’ There isn’t the slightest chance of this in Positano.”

Steinbeck was mistaken. Never underestimate the lure of a beautiful seaside town, or the ingenuity of Italians when it comes to packing more motor scooters, cars, tour buses and visitors than you can imagine into a town that has literally no place to grow.

More world-traveling Sina-cism: Finding a kindred spirit in Budapest