Downtown Williamsport will belong to the world on Friday, Aug. 27.
The Central Business district between Market and William streets will close to traffic for a five-hour celebration titled "Williamsport Welcomes the World," which will feature live entertainment, vendors, children's rides, sidewalk sales by downtown merchants and - most important - visitors attending the Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport.
The event, held in conjunction with the Series, which runs from Aug. 20 to Aug. 29, is being planned and coordinated through the city with the assistance of the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
The Williamsport Welcomes the World logo was created for the city by Impact Advertising.
A committee has been formed to help pull the various components of the event together and includes Mary and Greg Zeitler, Lara Breon, Faith Smith, Bonnie Katz, Dave Brumbaugh, Yvonne Roskowski, Frank Fedele, Main Street Manager Bill Henderson, Jason Fink of the chamber, Cindy Eister, Megan Hill, Amy Lambert, Matt Gartner, Cindy Perry and Jessica Abernathy.
The committee met for the second time Monday morning in City Hall to announce the event, which Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said was conceived by him and his family.
The idea, he said, quickly gained support from those he talked to about the feasibility of holding the celebration starting this year.
City Hall has reached out to downtown merchants urging them to participate, especially those in the three-block area in which the celebration will take place.
Fink said the chamber will provide its support and will supply "Williamsport Welcomes the World" pins, which will be distributed for free to those attending the event.
According to Fink, the chamber also is working through an agent to arrange the appearance of at least one former Major League Baseball star to be present and meet fans during the celebration.
Stages will be set up for the live entertainment at the small corner park on the southwest side of West Fourth and Market streets and at the FNB lot further west on West Fourth Street.
The "Williamsport Welcomes the World" pins will show the official event logo designed by Impact Advertising.
Campana said merchants are urged to participate in the international theme of the celebration with food and decorations matching a designated country.
He said some vendors already have responded but there is room for more.
Entertainment will include "bands, zumba dancers, dance studios (and) massages," according to highlights released by the mayor's office.
The event is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. and end about 10 p.m.
According to city officials, the impacted streets likely will be closed on the day of the event about mid-afternoon.
Vendors are asked to contact the codes department at City Hall for information about permits and requirements, such as the need for all vendor tents having documentation that they were made from fire retardant material.