Grand Slam Parade Welcomes Little League World Series

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WILLIAMSPORT -- Excitement was in the air on West Fourth Street as Williamsport once again welcomed the world of Little League Baseball.

“Go Little League!” shouted a team of young ballplayers.

The 13th annual Grand Slam Parade marks the start of the Little League World Series which takes place across the river in South Williamsport, and organizers say it drew about 40,000 people.

“Oh it`s beautiful. What can you say? Look at the day.  Look at the night,” said Ann Coolidge from South Williamsport.

The 16 teams from around the world competing in the series rode floats in the parade and they were joined by marching bands, colorful characters and of course, several other Little League teams from around Pennsylvania.

“Oh it`s fantastic. It`s the first time our Little League has ever been a part of this so we`re very excited,” said coach Gary Barshinger who was in the parade with his team from York County. “Fantastic experience, it's been the best summer of their lives. It's been a blast.”

“Pretty cool because there`s teams from all over the world and we get to be a part of that as in the parade so it`s pretty cool,” said Samantha Ulrich from Montgomery.

“Yeah, yeah, being from the area, being able to represent Loyalsock and the area on the world's stage, it's great. It's good fun,” said Jeremy Kennedy from Loyalsock Township.

Some here say parade day feels like a city-wide holiday in Williamsport.

“I`ve grown up here and this is one of the best spectacles I`ve been around. People come from out of town, the environment, the unity. It`s wonderful,” said Kirk Coates. “I`m proud to live here. It`s the greatest time of year.”

Many people were out before the sun came up to snag prime spots for their chairs. Or, at least for the Bowers from Bloomsburg, they had friends who did.

“We do this every year,” said Mary Jean Bower. “Our friend Tom comes out at 5:30 in the morning, sets the chair up and then we show up about now with our food and we get ready and it`s just wonderful every year. It`s just wonderful.”

“My buddy Tom here, he saves seats for us and all`s we got to do is drive up from Bloomsburg and sit down and watch the parade, doesn`t get any better than that,” said Mike Bower.

Opening ceremonies are set for 11 a.m. then it`s on to the first game, scheduled for 1 p.m.

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