Grand Slam Parade kicks off with music, drums

Mikey Welteroth, left, of GW Construction, and Jon Dimmick, master carpenter, help add finishing touches to the enchanted garden float LKW Dance Center will ride during Wednesday's Grand Slam Parade. KATELYN HIBBARD/Sun-Gazette

Leading Wednesday’s Grand Slam Parade into downtown Williamsport will be more than 140 drum corps members as the county welcomes the 2018 Little League Regional Champions to the city.

The parade is slated to begin by 5:30 p.m., leaving from Susquehanna Street and is expected to reach downtown Williamsport by 6 p.m. with 11 high school bands, three string bands, the Repasz band and special guests the Dansville, New York White Sabers Drum Corps.

With so many acts, this year’s parade will be the most musical Little League parade yet, according to Jason Fink, vice president of the Williamsport Chamber of Commerce.

“We have a lot of music this year,” Fink said. “There are a number of divisions that will have at least two bands in them.”

Of those bands, eight will be from Lycoming County high schools, Central Mountain will participate once again and Sullivan County High School’s band will join the parade for the first time.

The inclusion of the White Sabers, Fink said, is a nod to the Drum Corps International Championships being held at the high school’s football field on Sept. 1 and 2.

“I am excited about what that is going to sound like as you see and hear this corps coming down the street,” he said. “We wanted to be able to let people know that we are also going to be hosting a world championship of another event a year after the LLWS culminates.”

A number of county residents and Williamsport High School students are members of the corps and the Williamsport students have been asked to wear their school band uniforms and will have the opportunity to play for both bands during the parade.

The parade’s path will be the same as past years — traveling from Susquehanna Street, through Fourth Street and down into Market. Streets will be closed by 2 p.m., with Mastor of Ceremonies John Finn beginning his set of music and commentary by 4 p.m. Baseball legend Ozzy Smith will be Grand Martial for the event.

The chamber of commerce is expecting an influx of attendees at the parade this year with the inclusion of the White Sabers. Fink added that the regional championships have been in Williamsport previously and many residents are fans.

“Even if you don’t know a kid or anyone in the parade, still come out and show your community pride,” Fink said. “What takes place in South Wiliamsport is really taking place in Lycoming County.”