Downtown to open in welcoming the world

The ninth annual Williamsport Welcomes the World, a downtown street festival, is scheduled to take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, according to event organizers.

Streets in the Central Business District, from Market to Hepburn, and side streets, will start to close to traffic starting about 1 p.m., said Cindi Perry Rischar, event organizer.

The festival offers a bit of something for all ages, with artists, musicians and vendors performing and selling products.

Streets to be closed include: West Edwin and West Fourth, the north and south lanes; Court, Pine, William and Laurel streets.

West Edwin Street from Market to William streets is expected to shut down from 1 to 5 p.m. and reopen once vendors are set up.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, whose said his children came up with the festival idea, said the event is brought to fruition with a committee working all year long on the plans.

“We wanted to create a great family fun event for residents and visitors, and we did,” Campana said.

Downtown merchants will be open throughout the evening and offering special discounts.

About 750 Williamsport Welcomes the World Little League pins are expected to be available at participating merchants, with purchase of $5.

Vladimir Guerrero, former Los Angeles Angels and Hall of Fame outfielder, will be signing autographs in front of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce building from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Rischar said.

Guerrero had a highly celebrated 16-year career playing with the Montreal Expos for eight years, Angels for six years, Texas Rangers for one year and Baltimore Orioles for one year.

City police will be holding its third open house at City Hall. Agencies coordinating with police on the open house include local, federal and state police and firefighters and emergency medical personnel.

The police open house is a chance to get educated on the latest techniques police and emergency personnel are deploying.

A “Kids Zone” will be located in the Midtown Landing, behind the Trade and Transit Centre II.

Other children’s activities will be on display on William Street and in the muraled parking lot between Woodlands Bank and Bullfrog Brewery.

Magician Eddy Ray and his stand-up routine shows will be at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the community park. Ray also plans to stroll through the crowd. His appearance is the result of a donation by Rettew, a local engineering company. Musicians from the Uptown Music Collective will be performing on the stage near Community Arts Center and on Pine Street. David Brumbaugh, founder of the collective, said entertainment times are between 5 and 9 p.m. for the length of the event.