It’s series time: Welcome to our city, area, stage

Welcome, world, to the Little League World Series, an event that has grown gradually through seven decades to the point where most of the globe knows about our area.

There is Williamsport, the home of Little League Baseball, and South Williamsport, the home of the international complex that hosts the Series games.

And there is a surrounding area that is one of those pearls of nature, a mix of Appalachian hills, creeks, valleys and the winding Susquehanna River.

Against that backdrop, there is a bigtime parade through downtown Williamsport tonight featuring the 16 teams participating in the Series.

Once the games begin, there is something new, as usual.

Teams will be representing Australia and the Czech Republic for the first time.

There are the traditional powerhouses here representing Latin regions, Asia and the western and southern regions of the United States.

But very many years there is an upstart team that becomes the darling of the fans during the 11-day tournament from another region of the country or another part of the international bracket.

That’s the beauty of the Series. Most years, there is not a local representative such as Keystone Little League from the Lock Haven area two years ago.

So all the teams start out on equal footing in the eyes of the thousands of fans who attend the Series for the event rather than coming with a particular rooting interest.

And some fans will come for a 12-year-old’s autograph.

Or to slide down a hill on a cardboard sled beyond the fences at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

Or just to walk around the grounds and people-watch dozens of times over the course of several hours on a sun-spanked August afternoon.

It’s our house.

It’s our event.

There’s something here for everyone.