WILLIAMSPORT, PA (KTRE) - It was first known as the National Little League Tournament, dreamed up by Carl Stotz. And 70 years later, the Little League World Series has become an international event.
"It's like watching one of your children grow up," said John Green, a lifelong resident of Williamsport. Green also runs an unofficial website for the league. It keeps maturing and maturing."
Now, the tournament showcases eight US regions, including the Lufkin All Stars, and eight world regions. While the uniforms and regions have changed, the one thing that has stayed the same is the host: Williamsport, Pa. For two weeks every August, the town of 29,000 people shows off their love for baseball.
"It's a small town but not that small, and it is an event we look for every year," Green said.
"We see different people every year, and it is the first time to come to Williamsport for a lot of these people," said Jason Fink, the director of the Lycoming County Visitors Bureau.
It is Little League, so the games are free. But the event that brings in thousands is a big boost to the regional economy. Williamsport, Lycoming County and surrounding areas bring in roughly $33 million to $35 million in tourism funds.
"We don't have enough rooms here, so it spills out into the surrounding communities," Fink said.
As the game continues to grow and reach new areas, lifelong residents know how special this event is .
"It's one of those bucket list items people have, and we enjoy this coming to our doorstep every year," Fink said.
Lufkin plays the Great Lakes Regional Champions from Michigan on Thursday at 6 p.m. CDT.