SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Typically, the day before the Little League World Series begins in South Williamsport, the grounds crew is busy preparing the fields.
But this year, it is all quiet at Lamade Stadium. This year's Little League World Series was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the series, 16 teams, their families, and fans usually come to South Williamsport from all over the world. But many people who live here also love coming year after year.
"It's really been an event in our family for generations, actually," Laura Lyn Weisel said.
"Me, my mom, and my sister watch the games for a little bit, and then we go to the fun zone. I have a lot of fun playing in the fun zone," Cameron Weisel added.
"My favorite thing is when you get the cardboard things, and you slide down the hill," Ax Jacobs said.
People tell Newswatch 16 they are bummed that the series was canceled this year.
"It's disappointing not to be able to do it. It's a really fun family time, and it's all free. So many people come. It's really disappointing," Laura Lyn Weisel said.
"The time is here now, and so you also sit there and think what could have been," said Jason Fink, the president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
Fink says the Little League World Series usually brings more than 70,000 visitors to the Williamsport area.
"This is definitely that crippling blow to some here in the area," Fink said.
Many businesses are feeling the effects of the tournament's cancellation. Several team families usually stay at Genetti Hotel.
"Typically starting tonight, the hotel would be sold out with Little League fans, families, people trading pins locally, it's just definitely different this year," Miranda Kujawa said.
Kujawa is the general manager at Genetti Hotel in Williamsport. Instead of this being booked solid, things are much different this year.
"Given the situation with COVID, the hotels are really negatively affected," Kujawa said.
"I don't think it will put anybody out of business, but it is definitely going to set a lot of our businesses back when they could really use this boost," Fink added.
Little League officials tell Newswatch 16 next year's series will be bigger and better than ever.