The 12-day world event that the Little League World Series has become starts Wednesday night with a first-class parade through the city of Williamsport.
It will be attended by thousands of people and will feature celebrities and all 16 teams participating in the tournament that starts Thursday.
That's a far cry from the days when an eight-team World Series started on Tuesday afternoon and ended on Saturday afternoon.
It seems the tournament itself has grown more intriguing each year, with something unique to the field of 16 teams each August.
Last year, the historic run by the Keystone Little League from the Lock Haven area gave the series its first local participant in more than 40 years.
Besides bringing record crowds to the series, the Keystoners held up their end of the bargain with excellence on the field, staying alive for the championship until the final Thursday.
This year, a team from Uganda expands the cultural and world presence among the field of 16 teams.
Those players will share a stage with seven other international teams and eight American teams that will make towns and cities famous over the coming days.
It's fair to say, with the addition of the Uganda team, the series has never been more legitimately worldwide than it is this year.
But the most recognizable datelines over the next 13 days will be the ones that say Williamsport or South Williamsport.
Much larger cities and venues cannot match the notoriety and attractiveness that this event, on the hilly stage that frames Lamade and Volunteer Stadiums, possesses.
We welcome the world, are proud of our community and hope everyone who discovers our corner of the globe in the days ahead finds the hidden jewel we believe we are.