WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Wednesday is the day thousands of people in Lycoming County and beyond have been waiting for all summer.
It’s the kickoff to the Little League World Series. This is the 72nd year for the Grand Slam Parade. 16 teams from around the world are attending.
Eyewitness News Morning news anchors Chris Langlois and Kelly Byrne are hosting the parade this year. It comes before the official opening ceremony which starts Thursday at 11 a.m. at Volunteer Stadium.
The community has been gearing up for the big event. But before all the fun, officials made sure security was amped up.
Before the parade comes all of the precautions.
“Including the city police, our special response team otherwise known as SWAT is scheduled and they come in and they’re available. We have aviation units from state police on standby,” Damon Hagan, chief of Williamsport Bureau of Police said.
More than 40 additional officers are on standby, along with an emergency operation center for command needs.
“It’s very important. We need to be ready in case something happens. We need to be able to respond and we’ve learned over the years the more officers and more people you have involved, the better you communicate, the more ready you are in case you have an incident,” Hagan said.
Hagan says that he doesn’t expect anything to happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“We’ve also authorized overtime for officers to work crime suppression patrols and the PSP Troop F under the leadership of Trooper Shadle has offered additional troopers to come into the city and patrol in the wake of the recent violent crimes that have occurred here in the valley,” Hagan said.
Police officers aren’t the only ones who have been gearing up for Parade Day.
“We’ve been preparing for the past couple of weeks and obviously, Parade Day, we are now setting 225 chairs to host our families that have now arrived. We have six teams staying with us for the next 12 days,” Tanya Weber, corporate group sales manager for Genetti Hotel said.
It’s a day that parade-goers look forward to every year.
“I like the parade a lot and of course I like to see the players and of course my daughter and just going to the games every year. I like to have company so my friends call my house a bed and breakfast,” Kathy Lehman of South Williamsport said.