By Bill Dean
Entertainment editor for
The Gainsville Sun
Hailing from Jacksonville, Lynyrd Skynyrd's ties to Gainesville are surprising perhaps only in their depth and longevity. They go back to the late '60s and early '70s when the unsigned band performed shows in Gainesville, including several for Tom Petty's Mudcrutch.
Today they continue with the group helping to raise funds for Gainesville's Earl Gardner, who as a 7-year-old in 2007 received burns to 40 percent of his body at his home in northwest Gainesville.
The band recently sent Earl's family an Ibanez guitar autographed by singer Johnny Van Zant, guitarists Gary Rossington and Rickey Medlocke, and others associated with the group along with 38 Special singer Donnie Van Zant.
The guitar is being raffled off Saturday with proceeds from the $2 donations per chance going to defray Earl's continuing medical expenses. Chances are available at the Short Stop in Gainesville, Alachua Farm & Lumber Center in Alachua, the Spindrifter Lounge, Sonny's Pit Bar-B-Cue in Alachua, Hitchcock's grocery stores in Alachua, Trenton, Hawthorne, Newberry, Old Town, Jasper, East Palataka and Keystone Heights.
The drawing for the guitar will be held at noon Saturday at Alachua Farm & Lumber Center, at 14101 N.W. 145th Ave., Alachua, though participants don't need to be present to win. For more information, call the Alachua Farm & Lumber Center at (386) 462-3003.