Christmas in July!
I don’t know how it is in your home town, but around here it seems like the fireworks, ribbons and Uncle Sam posters are hardly put away before the fake snow, Santa Suits and ‘Christmas in July’ banners go up. I don’t know where or when the tradition of Christmas in July started (I’ve found references to it as far back as the late 1950s) but I’ve found some interesting stories about it.
At McMurdo Station in Antarctica, the tradition of celebrating Christmas in July seems to have originated around midwinter supply drops. Because Antarctica is in the Southern hemisphere, July is actually the middle of winter. Ice and high winds make landing too dangerous so military supply planes zoom overhead, parachuting fresh food - along with mail and other packages - down onto the ice. The sudden arrival of food, presents, and other goodies was just like a visit from Santa!
Many Australian families celebrate “half-Christmas” in June or July. This tradition seems to have evolved since television and movies brought images of holiday celebrations in the Northern hemisphere to the Australians. While many of them wanted to enjoy the traditional “Christmas feast” with roasted meats, plum pudding, and all the trimmings, the hot weather around December made such a heavy meal inappropriate. So many Aussie families kept their original Christmas traditions (like an outdoor barbecue and a swim in the backyard pool!) and added a midwinter dinner. Interestingly, even though they celebrate Christmas in the summertime, many Australians still use winter-y themes such as snow, snowmen and frosty scenes on their Christmas cards and in their holiday decorations.
Here in the States, Christmas in July seems to be more a marketing tool than anything. Television networks use it as an excuse to re-run holiday specials; car dealerships use it as a theme for their midsummer sales; even the grocery stores around here are getting in on it! If you want to have your own Christmas in July party you’ll need one thing to really make it special, snow!
The BM60 Snow Machine is a professional-quality machine for making and blowing artificial snow. The fake snow it creates looks exactly like real snow, falls at the same rate, and doesn’t leave a mess behind. Since snow machines are a relatively new technology, I feel a brief explanation of how our snow machine works is in order.
A snow machine consists of four basic components: a fluid tank, a fluid pump, a high-speed blower, and a nylon “sock.” When the machine is turned on, the pump moves snow fluid (a water-based soap solution) from the tank into the nylon sock at the front of the machine. At the same time, the blower pushes air through the sock at high speed. As the snow liquid is forced through the material of the sock, the air whips it into small clumps of foam that fall just like real snowflakes.
While snow liquid is a water-based solution, the artificial snow created by our snow machine does not result in a watery mess. Our machine creates a “dry” snow that evaporates within a few seconds of touching the floor, leaving almost no residue at all behind. Many ballet companies have used our snow machines, usually in productions of “The Nutcracker,” and we have never heard a complaint of dancers sticking or slipping on our snow.
To get the best effect from a snow machine, you should mount it in a high location. While fans can be used to blow the fake snow up into the air, the effect looks best if the snow seems to be falling naturally from above. If you are planning to use the snow machine in a holiday display, you’ll want to use the timer remote on the snow machine (new for this model) to switch the snow on and off. The remote allows you to select the duration of the snow effect as well as the interval between “blizzards.” If you are using the machine on a timer, be sure to keep an eye on the fluid tank! Running a snow machine without any snow fluid in the tank will damage the pump.
Even if you don’t plan to celebrate Christmas this summer, now is a great time to invest in a snow machine. With the addition of a timer remote and DMX-512 compatibility, our snow machines are a better value now more than ever! Of course if you do get a snow machine this week, how could you resist unpacking it and causing a few flurries at your next backyard barbecue?
Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579