Longtime Roundhouse Bar manager Teri Winchester started the tradition 20 years ago as a gift to her college-age workers, whose seasonal jobs required them to spend April through October on the island. "The employees always gave 110 percent, and she decided it would be nice to have a summertime Christmas party as a thank-you for working so hard," says Beckford, who once worked for Winchester as a bartender. "She would literally cook a turkey with all the trimmings. And she always had a nice present for us."
When Beckford quit her Roundhouse job to manage the nearby Frosty's bar in the mid-'90s, she took the holiday idea with her. Winchester gave her blessing. "One day, boom! The entire town was decorated," recalls Beckford. "Everybody was having Christmas-in-July theme parties."
Today, as many as 2,000 boaters dock along South Bass Island's shoreline for a traditional bar-hop throughout downtown. "I'm totally surprised how Christmas in July has become the most popular weekend of the season," says Beckford. "Just goes to show that a lot of things take on a life of their own."
Sun., July 23, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.