December 1, 2017
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On December 1, 2017, the 42nd Fantasy of Lights Parade will roll through Downtown Gatlinburg in celebration of the holiday season and the arrival of the man in the red suit himself, Santa Claus. This year, Del Bryant, son of “Rocky Top” songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, will serve as Grand Marshall to the procession in honor of the 50th anniversary of his parents’ infamous penning of “Rocky Top” at the Historic Gatlinburg Inn.
In August of 1967 Hall of Fame songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant checked into Room 388 of the Inn. Taking a break from the album they were working on, the couple wrote the song “Rocky Top” in about 15 minutes. Designated as the unofficial fight song of the University of Tennessee and a familiar tune to many in the South, “Rocky Top” has since transcended from country ditty to state anthem and continues its powerful musical legacy half a century later. The excitement begins at 7:30 p.m. where the parade will step-off from its new location at Baskins Creek Bypass on East Parkway, before spanning through Gatlinburg and ending at traffic light #10.
An award-winning celebration, the Fantasy of Lights Parade has delighted over 20,000,000 people from around the world and is poised to enchant once more with a parade lineup that includes marching bands from all over the east, large balloons, dancers, musicians, and much more. Parade-goers are encouraged to arrive early to find a spot on the Parkway to watch the parade and to spread the festive cheer by wearing Santa hats.