Television and film actor Eric Close, who plays Mayor Teddy Conrad on ABC’s hit television show “Nashville,” will serve as Parade Grand Marshal for the 61st annual Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade.

The parade kicks off the holiday season in downtown Nashville on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at 7 p.m. The parade theme this year is “Sharing the Joy of Giving.”

“Piedmont Natural Gas is proud to continue this Nashville holiday tradition,” said Stephen Francescon, Community Relations Manager, Tennessee, at Piedmont Natural Gas. “This is the 61st year for the Nashville Christmas parade, and the people of Nashville and all of Middle Tennessee have enjoyed and supported the parade with huge turnouts every year. We are especially excited to have ’Nashville’s’ Eric Close join us as Grand Marshal.”

This year’s night of festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree in Public Square Plaza in Downtown Nashville. Mayor Karl Dean will be joined by Eric Close, Piedmont Natural Gas executives and other special guests. The tree lighting will be immediately followed with fireworks. The parade begins at 7 p.m. at Public Square Plaza and travels down Second Ave. and up Broadway to Ninth Avenue.

“The Nashville Christmas Parade is a great family-friendly tradition that brings people out to enjoy our beautiful downtown,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “With the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony on the same night, these festivities are a great way for our city to kick off the holiday season. This year’s Mayor’s tree lighting will take on a whole new level of excitement since it will include an appearance by another mayor – the mayor of the ‘Nashville’ TV show. I want to thank Eric Close for serving as grand marshal of the parade and being part of our Nashville community in this special way.”

All proceeds from the parade will benefit Piedmont’s Share the Warmth program, which assists local low-income families who need help paying energy bills at any point during the year, regardless of their energy source. 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 happenings and announcements, visit the Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nashvillechristmasparade. Additional information on how to participate in this year’s parade is also available at www.nashvillechristmasparade.com.

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