Each year for the past three seasons, during the Friday evening before the Sunday world championship game of the Little League World Series, the city has held a downtown festival called "Williamsport Welcomes the World."
This year will be no different, as organizers at the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and the city's special events committee have finalized plans for the third annual event featuring baseball great Steve Carlton, who will sign autographs.
A National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher whom Phillies' fans knew as "Lefty," Carlton is expected to sign autographs from 6 to 7 p.m. Aug. 24. The signing sessions will be in a parking lot along West Fourth Street near Pine Street.
"We can anticipate 10,000 to 15,000 people visiting our downtown 'Welcome,' which runs between 5 and 9 p.m. that day," said Jason Fink, chamber executive vice president.
"Williamsport Welcomes the World" pins will be available at several participating downtown merchants, Fink said.
Also scheduled for the night are musical performances by local groups, including performers from the Uptown Music Collective, he said.
Dozens of food and craft vendors will be on the scene to tantalize taste buds, and free children's activities - such as a bouncy house, a dunk tank, face painting and more - should keep youngsters occupied.
"This year we expect to have more vendors in the downtown," Fink said. "We got a good response from folks with concession sales that they want to participate."
The event will be on West Fourth Street between Market and William streets, he said. A few side streets between those main thoroughfares also are expected to contain activities, and traffic will be detoured around the area to allow pedestrians to enjoy the festival, according to organizers.
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said he does not expect the event will require overtime for police, codes and streets and parks department personnel, but if that is necessary, it won't be a budget breaker.