The tradition of
throwing confetti at the bride and groom at a wedding dates back to
the days of Ancient Rome. The earliest form of confetti would have
been wheat or other grains thrown at a couple to encourage fertility.
Over time, fancier variations on this theme developed, including the
use of rose petals and nuts. In Italy today, the word confetti is
used only to describe confectionary treats consumed at weddings and
other celebratory feasts. Classic Italian confetti consists of
nuts (usually almonds) that have been peeled and then sugar-coated,
in America we know these candies as "Jordan almonds." The
modern Italian word for what we would think of as confetti is 'coriandoli.'
Of course, we use
confetti today to celebrate more than just weddings.
Graduations, birthdays and anniversaries, or almost any other festive
occasion can cause us to break out the confetti. We've found many new
and interesting ways to "throw" it, as well. One such
method is the confetti drop where confetti is loaded into a bag or
net suspended above the crowd. Often the bag is made with a
loose stitch running down the center ending in a cord that runs to
the floor. At the proper moment, the operator pulls the stitch,
opening the bag and raining confetti down onto the crowd. Another
popular version is the snow bag, so named for its use on stage to
create a falling snow effect. The snow bag is a piece of canvas or
muslin with slits cut down the middle. The material is hung between
two pipes and loaded with the confetti or snow. When one of the pipes
is raised and lowered, the slits in the fabric open up allowing some
of the confetti to fall through. This creates a subtler and
longer-lasting effect than the traditional confetti bag.
forego the bag altogether and put the confetti inside balloons.
The benefit is that the balloons can be worked into the decorations
of the event. At the right moment, the balloons can be burst with
small explosive charges and the confetti is released. This makes for
a very dramatic end to a event.
favorites however, are the confetti cannons and they come in many
styles. The Ultra Confetti Launcher we're featuring in this week's
special is a great effect for an artist looking to create a small
burst of confetti on stage. The cannon is first loaded with two
sheets of flash paper and flameproof confetti is poured in on top. A
Surefire Igniter is then used to ignite the flash paper; as the paper
burns, the gasses it produces build up behind the confetti until it's
launched out of the cannon. While this method doesn't produce
as big a shot as our CO2-powered cannons, it's often enough for a
magician or director who wants a quick burst of confetti to enhance
an appearance or entrance.
If you're planning
to use the Ultra Confetti Launcher, bear in mind that it uses
igniters that need 110V of AC power to fire. This means that you'll
need access to a standard electrical outlet and a switch to control
the power to the device. Our Ultra 2 Footswitch and Ultra 4-way
Firing Panel both work very well as controllers for the Ultra
Confetti Launcher. If you don't think you'll have access to an
outlet, or if you want a cannon with a built-in controller, consider
the Electronic Confetti Launcher (#MA03). This device uses two
"AA" batteries to power a glo-plug that, in turn, ignites
the flash paper. While this device does seem to provide an
"all-in-one" solution the built-in footswitch can only be
located up to six feet away from the cannon, usually requiring the
performer to set off the effect himself.
Whether you use
the Ultra or Electronic Confetti launcher, you'll want to stock up on
a variety of confetti to shoot. Our traditional confetti works very
well in these devices, as does our silver mylarfetti. As long as it's
flameproof and reasonably small, you should be able to fire it from
either of these cannons. Just don't use the Jordan almonds, they're
much better on the reception table in the lobby.