For the eighth year, the Grand Slam Parade will welcome the top 16 Little League teams to Williamsport, with a mixture of old customs and new floats there to greet them.
The parade kicks off nearly two weeks of Little League World Series activities and welcomes and introduces the teams playing in the series.
The parade, which steps off at 6 p.m. Wednesday at West Fourth and Grier streets, was started as a way to link the World Series in South Williamsport to downtown Williamsport and the historic district, said Jason Fink, executive vice president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
"We thought it was something that would get people here," he said. "Usually people will arrive early. What are they going to do? They're trying to find something to do. They have downtime. This is a great way to fill that downtime."
The parade also allows visitors to see the area businesses and highlight what is in the community.
The parade route begins at the intersection of Susquehanna and West Fourth streets and proceeds east through the historic district and finishes in downtown Williamsport and the intersection of Market and West Fourth streets.
This year's parade grand marshal is former Red Sox, Yankee and Devil Rays, as well as 2005 Hall of Fame member, Wade Boggs.
During his 18-year baseball career, he played for the Boston Red Sox from 1982 to 1992, the New York Yankees from 1993 to 1997 and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1998 to 1999.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2005.
Boggs was known primarily as a contact hitter, finishing with five batting titles, 3,010 hits and a .328 lifetime batting average.
He is one of only two players to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit. His parade appearance is being sponsored by Rennie Rodarmel Insurance and Allstate.
"We thought he would be a very good fit for this year's Grand Slam Parade," Fink said. "He has ties to teams that people recognize."
Since the parade begun, it has grown in attendees and entrants. Last year, with the local Keystone team involved, between 50,000 to 55,000 people were estimated to have attended from public safety officials, he said.
"It's really exciting to be able to have the community welcoming those who are coming in from outside of our community," Fink said.
This year, depending on weather and the proximity of a local team, Fink said 40,000 to 50,000 people is possible.
"I would love to see more people than we had last year," he said.
Seven high school bands will perform, with the help of Wegmans to cover their costs. The newest entry is the Central Mountain Wildcats.
More than 20 bands and performing groups also will be available during the parade.
The parade features 10 divisions with more than 120 total units.
Some of the newest entries are the Hershey Kissmobile and the Johnsonville Big Taste Grill.
The eight floats that will carry the team players will be completed decorated, with the help of Datman Entertainment, Williamsport, to design and decorate the floats.
This year's parade pin will be a two-piece puzzle pin like last year's. The pin will feature the 2012 parade logo with the parade pin sponsor's logo incorporated into. This will be the third year the Pepsi Bottling Co., Williamsport, has sponsored the pin.
A limited number of pin sets will be available. They will be available at various businesses the Thursday following the parade.