ADJ lighting fixtures were used to create a festive atmosphere recently for a Christmas parade that ran down the Main Street of a Virginian town. Vizi Beam 5RX moving heads served as search lights projecting up into the winter sky, while COB Cannon Wash and 5P HEX par cans were used to illuminate the floats as they passed through the heart of the parade route.

Located approximately 60 miles south of Washington DC, Culpeper is a small town with a big community spirit. However, it hasn’t hosted a Christmas parade for 65 years. This was a situation rectified this holiday season by the County Sheriff’s office who invited local groups and organizations to take part in a festive parade running right through the heart of downtown. The response to this invitation was phenomenal, with 140 entries registered for the parade ranging from classic cars to floats designed and decorated by local business, churches, schools and other community groups.

In addition to the hundreds of people of all ages taking part in the parade, it attracted thousands of spectators who lined the route which covered a ¾-mile stretch of Main Street. The center of this route was the intersection between Main Street and Davis, where the judging panel was set up on one side and a grand stand of bleachers was erected on the other. This was where an announcer introduced each entry and was also where the all-ADJ lighting rig was used to illuminate the floats and enhance the atmosphere at the heart of the event.

Culpeper Christmas Parade

Responsibility for designing, supplying and operating the lighting system for the evening was entrusted to local company I&L’s DJing & Productions, which is headed up by owner/manager Ian Chini. Having founded the company in 2013 as a DJ services business, Ian has gradually grown and expanded the operation and now focuses on providing production services to large-scale events. While still maintaining a thriving DJ division, I&L’s also now offers lighting design, AV services and photo booths.


Ian is a longtime user of ADJ lighting equipment, which has supported his transition from DJ to production professional. “ADJ is our go-to company for lighting, making up 98% of our current inventory. We love ADJ fixtures and always recommend them to other companies and installs looking for solid, reliable fixtures that offer good value for money. We really believe in ADJ and have only ever had positive experiences with their products and with the company as a whole.”

For the Culpeper Christmas Parade, Ian and his team erected four 13’ lighting towers, one at each corner of the intersection. These were each loaded with a pair of ADJ 5P HEX LED pars alongside a single COB Cannon Wash fixture, which together were more than ample to bathe the heart of the parade route with vibrant festive colors and ensure the various entries were clearly visible to the judging panel.

Culpeper Christmas Parade

“The 5P HEX and COB Cannon Washes are two of our go-to fixtures for a lot of events,” explains Ian, “whether it be up-lighting or stage lighting or, in this instance here, parade lighting! The output of the 5Ps is very nice and they have a slightly tighter beam, which meant we could focus and angle those to hit certain areas. Then we could use the COB Cannons with their 100W output as that solid fill to add more light into the space. There are street lights in the area, but they are omnidirectional which means the ground of the intersection is normally fairly dark, so the use of the fixtures really helped to highlight and accent the parade as well as enhance the overall ambience of the area. For the 5Ps we did what I’d call cool winter colors: a nice icy blue and then a lighter purple. Then for the COB Cannons, which were not only positioned to fill in the intersection but also to highlight some of the buildings around it because of how wide the throw is on that fixture, we did classic red and green Christmas colors.”

In addition to the wash lighting, the I&L’s team also deployed their eight ADJ Vizi Beam 5RX moving head fixtures to generate mid-air beam effects, which could be seen from miles around and drew crowds into the center of the action. Powered by the revolutionary Philips® Platinum 5R lamp, a 189W light engine that delivers output comparable to a traditional 575W lamp, the Vizi Beam 5RX is a feature-packed moving head luminaire with a razor sharp 5-degree beam angle.

“We invested in our first set of four Vizi Beam 5RX fixtures three years ago and added four more this past August, which in itself shows how much we love them!” enthuses Ian. “One of our main markets is large-scale school dances, homecomings and proms for 1000+ students. So for us, the big things that we needed when we were looking to invest in a moving head fixture were power efficiency and a very strong, tight beam-style output. This is because a lot of times we are in gymnasiums or other large spaces, where power is limited but we need 150’ to 200’+ beam throws. The Vizi Beam 5RX ticked both of those boxes, and we have really been impressed with its performance and reliability over the past three years. The output from the 5R source is phenomenal, but I also really like the selection of GOBOs, particularly one that creates almost a prism-style effect, as well as the vibrant range of colors including a bright gold and also a very useful UV option.”

Culpeper Christmas Parade

The biggest challenge facing Ian and his crew on this event was the time scale for setup. Although they arrived on site around 2pm in the afternoon, Davis Street wasn’t shut to allow setting up of the judging area, bleachers and moving head lights until 4:50pm, 40 minutes before the start of the parade. Meanwhile, vehicles didn’t stop passing down Main Street until 5:20pm, just 10 minutes before the parade started to move.

Successfully dealing with this short setup time involved lots of pre-planning and communication with the organizers at the Sheriff’s office, as well as representatives from the local municipalities. Ian liaised closely with Culpeper Town Police, Culpeper Town Public Works and Culpeper Town Light and Power to ensure that everyone was clear on what would go where and what power supplies would be required.

To make for a quick setup, the Vizi Beam 5RX fixtures were deployed ground-stacked on their flight-cases, which allowed the power and DMX cables to be pre-rigged on the sidewalk. This meant that when the road closed all that Ian’s team had to do was roll out the cases and hook up the power.

For transmitting the DMX signal from the control position to the six different lighting clusters (four towers and two sets of moving heads), ADJ’s WiFLY wireless transmission system was deployed. Two ADJ WiFLY EXR Battery DMX transceivers were hooked up to the lighting desk, which output two separate universes (one for the wash lights and a second for the moving heads). Six additional transceivers were then positioned at each of the six lighting sites, removing the need to trail DMX cables across the street.

Culpeper Christmas Parade

“We had zero margin for error,” explains Ian, “due to limited setup time and the fact that crowds were already gathering by the time the streets were closed and we could roll the lights into position. Kudos to our lighting designer, Michael Douglas, who had to pre-program everything using a visualizer, as there was no time for programming once the fixtures were in position. Thanks to good planning and great teamwork, everything went off perfectly without a hitch. I heard many members of the public raving about how impressive the event was and the Sheriff’s office were absolutely ecstatic, through the roof amazed!”


Event

Christmas Parade
Culpeper, Virginia

Lighting Supplier

I&L’s DJing & Productions
www.ildjservices.com

Production Manager
Ian Chini

Lighting Designer / Programmer
Michael Douglas

Gear List
8 x ADJ Vizi Beam 5RX
8 x ADJ 5P HEX
4 x ADJ COB Cannon Wash
8 x ADJ WiFLY EXR Battery