WILLIAMSPORT–Authorities in Central Pennsylvania are taking no chances with tomorrow night’s Grand Slam Parade, that kicks off ten days of Little League World Series action. Security in Williamsport will be tight, especially in light of this year’s terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Grand Slam Parade organizers are asking people who attend the event in downtown Williamsport to be alert and report anything out of the ordinary. Organizers say they do not believe anything will happen, but they are taking extra precautions.
Soon, West Fourth Street in Williamsport will be packed with thousands of people for the 9th annual Grand Slam Parade, featuring teams that will play in this year’s Little League World Series.
Last year’s event drew more than 40,000 people from all over the world. Grand Slam Parade organizers expect even more people this year, and say there will be a significant increase in security.
“There are going to be more visible public safety folks. The police presence will be there and there will be folks you aren’t going to know that will be out along the parade route as well,” Jason Fink said.
Parade organizer Jason Fink says the extra security is the result of the bombings at the Boston Marathon this past April.
In addition to extra police presence, a security sweep will be done before the parade starts. Police will not allow people in the street.
Fink says in years past, people would walk up to the team floats and give the players gifts. That is also not allowed this year.
“We need to keep people back. There will be people walking along the floats like they’ve done in previous years, but this year they’re going to be a little more clear that you do not need to be approaching the parade floats,” Fink said.
The increased security is a relief to Latashia Walter. She plans to take her family to the grand slam parade, and says she was concerned because of recent shootings in Williamsport.
“That would be one place a lot of people would be. If they were trying to target somewhere it would probably be there,” Walter said.
“I’m not really worried. I think the town has good security so they’re going to do their best,” Caitlyn Taylor said.
“There have been a number of events that have taken place that are large-scale international events since Boston and there have been no issues. We can’t allow something like this to overcome this, this is a great event,” Fink said.
Again, if you do attend the Grand Slam Parade in Williamsport, organizers ask you to be aware of your surroundings, report anything suspicious…and enjoy the parade!