Tonight is the night for holiday cheer and Hope Street hosts its Winter Stroll. The merchants association, which boasts the talent, creativity and dedication of folks like Frog and Toad's Asher Schofield and J. Marcel's Dixie Carroll, has a night of family friendly fun planned, featuring music, a petting zoo, a window decorating contest (we understand Schofield and Carroll will be throwing down in this one), plenty of food and much more. It kicks off tonight at 5pm, so don't miss out. We'll be there judging the window contest. Here's the schedule of events:
5:00PM – Window Contest Judging
5:15PM – Santa Parade
5:00PM-7:00PM – Extraordinary Rendition Marching Band
Petting Zoo at Citizens Bank Parking Lot
5:30PM – Photos with Santa
6:30 – Winner of Window Contest Announced
Hewtins All Dogs Mobile
French Fry Guy
Fried Dough & Hot Cider Trucks
We hear so much bad economic news here in Providence, it's always great to come across some good news. Local startup Swipely, which runs credit card-based customer loyalty systems for small businesses, has been testing its services here in its hometown for a while now. Next up, it will expand into a Boston, starting with 150 businesses, a move that drew the attention for Forbes. Congrats to Swipely for making national headlines. Read the article here.
Big East basketball returns to Providence in full swing this month, as new PC head coach Ed Cooley leads his Friars into conference play. While fans are enjoying the on-court action, the real action will be happening behind the scenes in the conference’s Providence office, where major changes are afoot. Though the Big East still maintains a high profile presence in our fair city – both on and off the court – it’s evident that in practice, the conference has long since abandoned its birthplace.
What was once a collection of small, Northeastern, largely Catholic universities that played gritty, physical basketball has now become a sprawling behemoth that’s undergoing a bit of an identity crisis. The Big East has always been a basketball conference, but the real money in college athletics is in football. What is Commissioner John Marinatto to do?
The answer, beginning back in his predecessor Mike Tranghese’s time, has been aggressive expansion into football by reeling in big names like Miami, Rutgers, West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Marinatto carried on that tradition by luring Texas Christian University eastward from the football-heavy Mountain West Conference. No question, the Big East is serious about football.
The question remains, however, is football serious about the Big East? Of the five above-mentioned schools, only Rutgers will still be a member past 2014. Miami and Virginia Tech both departed for the more football-centric Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004. West Virginia will break for the football powerhouse Big 12 in 2014. TCU reversed its decision to join the Big East, also opting for the Big 12.
Indeed, Commissioner Marinatto’s dreams of becoming a major player in the multi-billion dollar industry that is college football may never materialize. Boston College, a founding member of the Big East, followed Virginia Tech and Miami to the ACC in 2005. Earlier this year, the ACC poached Syracuse and Pittsburgh, a founding member and …