WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Little League World Series will be kicking off in South Williamsport in just one week.
Thousands of people will visit, booking area hotels, eating at local restaurants and find entertaining things to do in and around Williamsport. After several deadly shootings in the city within the past couple of weeks, police say they’re stepping up their patrols to keep everyone safe.
Many people in Williamsport agree. The Little League World Series is their favorite week of the year in Lycoming County and local and state police are teaming up to make sure it stays that way.
Some of the 16 teams, eight from the United States and eight international teams have already started making their way into town. It never hurts to get here early for the parade, the MLB Classic and the Williamsport Welcomes the World event. But with large events means massive crowds.
“We have officers assigned to work overtime at all of those events and then we have some of our officers working overtime at the actual Little League venue in South Williamsport during some of those games as well,” Williamsport Bureau of Police Chief Damon Hagan said.
With five recent shootings in Williamsport since July 17, Hagan says his squad will be out in full force patrolling the city.
“We’re also working in cooperation with the Pennsylvania State Police paying overtime for officers to work crime suppression patrols on the streets of the city in an effort vamp down some of the street crime activity and also some of the recent violent crime activity as well,” Hagan said.
20 to 30 officers could be out at a time. But the locals who look forward to the big event each year say the out-of-towners should be excited about coming into the city.
“It’s the highlight of Williamsport. Come and enjoy,” Derrick Tutler of Williamsport said.
“It is fun, we are excited, it is a sold-out hotel. We are waiting to hear what teams we are going to host. We certainly know at this point in time we have the team from Australia,” Corporate group sales manager for Genetti Hotel, Tanya Weber said.
That’s approximately 205 rooms that are filled to capacity at the Genetti Hotel in downtown Williamsport.
“We’ve actually been booked now for at least the last six months,” Weber said.
And luckily they won’t be bored.
“The restaurants and bars and whatnot and the food is great,” Joanne Miller said.
“It’s festive. You know, it’s like an atmospheric thing. It’s like Christmas in August,” Tutler said.
Festivities kick off next Wednesday for the Grand Slam Parade in downtown Williamsport. The 2019 Little League World Series will be held from August 15 to August 25 at the Little League headquarters complex in South Williamsport.