Brothers Johnny and Donnie Van Zant to headline annual holiday celebration; Television broadcast of festivities to air nationally in over 100 markets across the country
Members of rock-n-roll royalty Lynyrd Skynrd and 38 Special will take the spotlight during Gatlinburg’s 45th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. Brothers Johnny Van Zant, lead singer of southern rock trailblazer Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Donnie Van Zant, co-founder of rock legend 38 Special have been named as the Grand Marshals for this year’s anticipated holiday celebration.
The parade will roll through downtown Gatlinburg on December 4 at 7:30 p.m. Parade-goers will be treated to floats decorated with holiday lights, marching bands, large balloons, dancers, and holiday characters.
Natives of Jacksonville, the Van Zant brothers forged separate paths in rock-n-roll history before coming together as their own act, aptly named “Van Zant.” Donnie co-founded 38 Special in 1974 and went on to write hits and serve as lead vocalist for the act until 2013. Johnny is the lead vocalist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, a role since 1987 after the groundbreaking act reformed following the tragic death of brother and original lead singer Ronnie Van Zant.
The band Van Zant took off in 1998 when Johnny and Donnie joined forces on what was slated to be a one-off collaboration, titled Brother to Brother. The positive reaction to the record convinced the duo to continue pursuing the project, and a follow-up recording, Van Zant II, was issued in early 2001. The duo's first country album, Get Right with the Man, arrived in May 2005, followed by My Kind of Country in 2007.
The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade is recognized as one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast.” The festivities will be broadcasted Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on local television stations in over 100 markets throughout the United States, giving millions of Americans the opportunity to experience a magical Smoky Mountain Christmas.