NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwire - Nov 18, 2011) - On December 2nd, Music City will live up to its legendary name as hundreds of performers, marching bands, parade floats and entertainment acts fill the streets of lower Broadway during the Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade. In its 59th year, the annual parade is set to be the largest in parade history featuring the most unique performances and the largest number of marching bands.

Grand Marshal and legendary country music star Vince Gill will kick-off the holiday festivities with the lighting of the Christmas tree in the Public Square Plaza at 6:30 p.m. Alongside Mayor Karl Dean and Piedmont Natural Gas executives, Gill will then lead the parade through downtown Nashville celebrating this year's theme of "Christmas Around the World."

For the first time, the Christmas Parade will feature a parade within a parade with the Franklin-based Light the World Parade -- a cultural arts entertainment parade with a cast of dancers, athletes, vocalists, stunt teams, puppeteers and a full drum line and color guard. The world-renowned Light the World Parade has performed at such notable events as the Greece and Beijing Olympic Games and the Cotton Bowl. Completely volunteer-based, the Light the World Parade is a portable parade that travels around the globe to spread messages of hope, encouragement and change. In addition several special guests will participate in the parade including country music band The Lunabelles and Titans' quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and his family.

"The Nashville Christmas Parade is a family-friendly tradition that brings people downtown and helps kick off the holiday season," Mayor Dean said. "Christmas Around the World is a fitting theme given the diverse communities in our city, and I am especially pleased that proceeds from the parade will benefit a program that assists needy families. I am grateful to Vince Gill for serving in the role of grand marshal. We are lucky to have Vince in Nashville, and I can think of few others who embody the spirit of Christmas as he does. Vince is a true humanitarian with an endless supply of generosity and kindness. I encourage everyone to join me for both the tree lighting ceremony and the parade as we celebrate the holidays in Music City."

This year's Piedmont Natural Gas Christmas Parade will also feature 15 high school marching bands, seven jumbo-sized helium balloons of favorite Christmas characters, six professionally designed sponsor floats and more than 80 total performing groups and organizations. The Nashville Sounds, Metropolitan Police Department and Fire Department, Nashville Ballet, Gaylord Opryland, Al Menah Shriners, and a fleet of motorcyclists are just a few of the groups participating in the parade.

"Piedmont Natural Gas is proud that the Nashville Christmas Parade has become a destination for people across the South East wanting to celebrate the holiday season in Nashville -- a place where entertainment is synonymous with our city," said Tim Greenhouse, Piedmont Natural Gas' Regional Executive for Nashville. "This year's Christmas Parade will surpass all those past with the most musical performances the parade has ever seen and featuring marching bands that have traveled from Virginia and Alabama simply to be part of our holiday tradition."

All proceeds from the parade will benefit the Piedmont Natural Gas Share the Warmth program, which assists low-income families in Nashville who need help paying energy bills regardless of their energy source or the time of year. Since 2003, Piedmont Natural Gas and its customers, along with the Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation, have donated more than $1.5 million to Share the Warmth energy assistance funds.

To stay up to date on parade announcements and for a full list of participants, visit the Nashville Christmas Parade Facebook page at

About Piedmont Natural Gas

Piedmont Natural Gas is an energy services company primarily engaged in the distribution of natural gas to more than one million residential, commercial and industrial utility customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including 52,000 customers served by municipalities who are wholesale customers. Our subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, interstate natural gas storage and intrastate natural gas transportation. More information about Piedmont Natural Gas is available at