December 25, 2016

Worcester Weekly: First Night turns 35, WPI hoops + more to do, Dec. 25-31

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Sunday, Dec. 25 — Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Monday, Dec. 26 — Donna E. Hart Reading and Activities Afternoon, noon-2 p.m., Annie’s Book Stop, 65 James St.  Looking for a little help scraping the kiddoes off the ceiling after you — and Santa! — punctuated weeks of sugar cookies and toy commercials with a weekend bonanza of glorious gifts? First things first: Don’t, under any circumstances, tell them you’re going to a bookstore. But once you’re there, you can expect tykes of a certain age to dig the reading and coloring activities around local author Donna Hart’s “Sherry Strawberry” character. Free, and not in your living room.

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Tuesday, Dec. 27 — Science for Wizards, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way  To be honest, I’m not sure why wizards need science. I mean, you just rattle the magic wand and start doing wizardish things, don’t you?! Let mere mortals have their cute, little science — pssh.

Anyway, if coloring at Annie’s didn’t do the trick or if you’re dealing with older, more discerning children, have no fear, the EcoTarium’s got this school vacation thing figured out. Through Saturday during regular hours, the museum’s cauldron is bubbling over with activities, like potion making and levitation lessons. Beat that, Xbox!

Admission is free for EcoTarium members; $15 for adults, $10 seniors, kids and w/ college ID (under 2 free).

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Wednesday, Dec. 28 — Wednesday Night Mayhem, 9 p.m.-midnight, Beatniks, 433 Park Ave.  This one, not so much for the kids. But you will need a little mischief in your heart, and some guts in your … well, guts. Held at one of the city’s more unique watering holes — where the motto is “Be you” — and administered by a group calling itself the Federation of Belligerent Writers, there is indeed mayhem on the menu in this mashup of writing competition, performance art and riotous audience behavior. If nothing else, it would certainly be a chance to escape your typical midweek inanity.

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Friday, Dec. 30 — WPI men’s basketball vs. Eastern Nazarene, 2 p.m., Harrington Auditorium, 151 Salisbury St. [parking garage]  Kind of timely for a visit by the “Christ-centered” Eastern Nazarene College, wouldn’t you say? Not sure the WPI men will be all that interested in offering a Christian welcome to the Lions (4-5), though.

The Engineers, after all, are coming off a 20-7 season which included a 16-2 start and a spot in the NCAA Div. III tournament (where they lost in the first round). And under coach Chris Bartley they’re off to a 7-2 start this year behind captains Sean Doncaster (13.4 points per game) and Ian Converse (12.9 points, 7.3 rebounds). Sophomore sparkplug Jamani Spencer (11.9 points off the bench) and freshman guard Jake Wisniewski (8.6 points, 5.2 rebounds) are also playing key minutes for the NEWMAC favorites.

Fun fact: Eastern Nazarene’s second-leading scorer, at about 16 points per game, is named Christian (Lynch). So, maybe they do have a prayer.

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Saturday, Dec. 31 — First Night Worcester, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m., various locations (also Clinton, Sturbridge)  Thirty-five years of turning Worcester into one big New Year’s Eve party — that’s quite the run. Big news this year, too: Joe Petty’s performing … wait, no it’s the Jo Petty Band, no “e” … oh well. I guess the Cape Cod-based Christian rockers are good, too. But wouldn’t it have been cool to see the mayor onstage at some downtown church jamming out to Peter Frampton covers? Picture Tony Economou on bass, Sarai Rivera and Kate Toomey rocking the tambourines. (Khrystian King was in the band until that tax vote last week!)

Anyway, there will still be tons of fun, activities of virtually all kinds — singing, dancing, magic, psychics, ice sculptures and fireworks (but not too close together). There’s a trolley to get you around, and buttons cost $15 day-of, $12 in advance.

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