‘The evening culminated when Santa Claus arrived on the scene surrounded by a flurry of synthetic snowflakes’
USA - The City of Paramount in California kickstarted the holiday season at the end of November with the 25th instalment of its annual Tree Lighting Celebration. Lit by a variety of ADJ luminaires, the free event was attended by thousands of locals and featured live musical and dance performances.
The evening culminated when Santa Claus arrived on the scene surrounded by a flurry of synthetic snowflakes created by six of ADJ’s powerful Entour Snow machines. He then joined city officials on stage to throw a large lever shaped like a candy cane which turned on the downtown Christmas lights.
A holiday traditional which started a quarter of a century ago, the City of Paramount’s annual Tree Lighting Celebration has become one of the biggest events of the local community calendar. It regularly attracts crowds of 8,000 to 10,000, however this year’s 25th Anniversary edition smashed all attendance records by welcoming an estimated crowd of 15,000.
Attendees were treated to dance and musical performances by Latina Art Foundation, Kimberly’s Dance Studio, Mariachi Las Catrinas, and the Disneyland Carollers. Following the appearance by Santa and the official lights switch-on, the event closed with a set by Vilma Diaz, the former lead singer of Cumbia band La Sonora Dinamita, which prompted dancing in the street to end a memorable celebration.
For the second year running, technical production for the event was provided by Ambient Pro, with the principal, Victor Nava, serving as production manager. The company was responsible for building the stage as well as providing all audio, lighting, video, and special effects equipment for the celebration. Due to the landmark anniversary, the whole production was dialled up from the previous year, with Ambient Pro providing a bigger stage as well as more lighting and effects equipment.
The 32’ by 28’ stage was illuminated by ADJ’s LED-powered Encore Profile Pro WW ellipsoidal fixtures, which were rigged to horizontal bars mounted to truss totems positioned at the FOH position. Additional fixtures were also used to light a photo wall and large balloon sculpture of a train, which were located to one side of the stage.
At total of eight Focus Spot 6Z automated luminaires were rigged to both the upstage and downstage trusses, as well as positioned directly on the back of the stage. Each featuring a powerful 300-watt LED engine, paired with precision-engineered optics and an extensive collection of beam-shaping tools, these versatile fixtures were utilised to create GOBO texture projections on the stage, as well as aerial beam effects to enhance the musical performances.
“The Focus Spot 6Z is a really versatile fixture,” enthuses Victor, “it has a great zoom range which allowed us to use it to create some nice tight beam looks as well as wide GOBO projections which hit the stage and the street as well as the buildings on either side.”
An additional eight Focus Wash 400 moving head fixtures were also split across the upstage and downstage trusses. The fixtures were primarily utilised to illuminate the simulated snow but were also used to add colour and movement on stage during the performances. “I really like the brightness and the colour mixing of the Focus Wash 400,” comments Victor, “those fixtures really did a great job of making the snow really pop.”
The six Entour Snow machines that were used to fill downtown Paramount with a flurry of synthetic snow were mounted in pairs, with one set hanging from the front of the stage and two further sets attached to truss totems located further back in the crowd. “The snow looked fantastic,” confirms Victor. “We had the machines running for a good 30 minutes and they produced a huge amount of snow, so I was a little worried they’d run out of juice. But, when we checked them at the end of the night, we found we hadn’t even used half of the tanks.”
Ten 18P Hex IP LED par fixtures were mounted to a pair of vertical pipes positioned at the back of stage to provide backlight for the performances while compact 7PZ IP zooming LED pars served as truss warmers for the stage structure. Finally, 30 of the WiFLY Par QA5 battery-powered wireless PAR fixtures were used to illuminate the nearby trees and also mounted to the truss totems to light the rear sections of crowd.
To accentuate the beams and effects created by the lighting, two of ADJ’s road ready Entourage haze machines were positioned at the rear of the stage, one on either side.
Finally, Ambient Pro also supplied a pair of ADJ’s Bubbletron XL high output portable bubble machines, which were saved for the performance by Vilma Diaz y La Sonora.

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