Raleigh, N.C. — "American Idol" winner and Garner native Scotty McCreery will serve as grand marshal of the 2011 WRAL-TV Raleigh Christmas Parade presented by the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association.
More than 60,000 people are expected to line the streets to watch the parade on Nov. 19. It's the largest Christmas parade between Atlanta and Washington D.C.
"It means a great deal to me to serve as grand marshal of this parade," McCreery said in a statement. "I’m really glad to be able to get out there and see all of the hometown folks. I know it will be fun."
McCreery said he has fond memories of attending the Christmas parade as a boy.
"We went with some family friends and it was freezing cold, so we brought a bunch of blankets," he said. "It was always fun, and it’s a good time for the community, so it’s cool to be a part of it."
WRAL-TV will have live coverage of the 67th Raleigh Christmas Parade along Fayetteville Street beginning at 10 a.m. on Nov. 19. The parade will feature more than 100 entries, including bands, floats, super-sized balloons, twirlers, entertainers and special visitor from the North Pole.
McCreery rocketed to national attention when he auditioned for "American Idol" in 2011 and made an impression with deep, undeniably country voice and small-town roots. He became the season 10 "Idol" champion in May and, since then, has gone on tour with other "Idol" contestants, debuted his first album, "Clear as Day," at the top of the charts, and released two hit singles. He sang the National Anthem at the first game of the World Series Wednesday night.
Along the way, McCreery hasn't forgotten his hometown roots in Garner.
"The support I've received from my hometown over the last year has meant so much to me," he said. "They have been by my side since day one. We took them on a journey with us; they were along for the ride with me. So it’s nice to see them back home, still supporting me."
An estimated 15,000 people showed up when McCreery threw a combination birthday and album-release party at the Time Warner Pavilion in Raleigh on Oct. 8, the day before his 18th birthday.
He filmed his second music video for the single "The Trouble With Girls" with about 70 fellow classmates and friends at Garner Magnet High. He's attending class there as a senior to get his high school diploma.