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Parade Serves as Kickoff to World Series Festivities

Two more teams pass by as the Williamsport City Hall looms in the background.

For the first time in more than 50 years, a parade through the streets of downtown Williamsport, Pa., kicked off the annual Little League Baseball World Series.

Serving as Grand Marshall was Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who walked the route at the head of the procession, then watched from the balcony of the Community Arts Center along with Steve Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, and other dignitaries. The “Williamsport Grand Slam Parade” took place under clear skies on Aug. 18, the night before the World Series began.

World Series players, managers, coaches and umpires were the guests of honor, however, as they rode past on floats as the crowd along the route, estimated at more than 10,000, cheered. Other special participants in the parade were military service members who had recently returned from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, high school bands, local clubs, and more.

The parade was made possible by a $40,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce. Gov. Rendell presented Williamsport Mayor, Mary Wolf and Jason Fink, executive vice president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Lycoming County Convention and Visitors Bureau, with the grant in July to provide financial support to help generate economic activity in downtown Williamsport during the 10-day period when attention from across the world is focused on Little League and the Williamsport area.

The Canada and U.S. Midwest Regional champions ride a flatbed truck through the streets of Williamsport in the “Williamsport Grand Slam Parade.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (in dark suit) waves from the balcony of the Community Arts Center as two more teams pass by.