BREMEN, Ky. and DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (WEHT) It doesn’t feel or look like Christmas, but it was today for two communities still working to get back to normal.

Christmas in July happened in Dawson Springs and Bremen today.

You don’t see a lot of Christmas decorations like this up in the middle of July. But for folks here in Bremen and Dawson Springs that are recovering from the tornado that hit here back in mid-December, this event help reclaims some of that holiday cheer they lost late last year.

It looked like Christmas this morning, even if the weather made it feel like a luau.

“It’s a very good thing that they are doing since everybody got affected by the tornado,” said LaMonica Smith, whose family are among those affected more than seven months ago. Her mother’s home was damaged. smith says Christmas in July can help reclaim some of what the community lost.

“This is helping out a little bit in reclaiming everything,” she said.

“If you think, if we can stack one good day after another, hopefully create so many good memories that will help them process that difficult that night, and with the complexity and time it takes to rebuild,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.

The gifts come from the more than a hundred thousand toys, shoes and other items donated since last December to tornado victims as part of the Western Kentucky Toy Drive. It happens as homeowners, churches and others keep rebuilding what they lost that night. Even Santa and Mrs. Claus say they’re glad these people were able to enjoy the holidays, and what those holidays are really about.

“It’s wonderful, always, to see the kids, but here in July, it’s wonderful,” he said.

“It’s a blessing,” added Mrs. Claus.

In Dawson Springs, hundreds of people went to Dawson Springs High School for their Christmas in July.

“It’s nice that they’re all doing this for us,” said Annette Steeley.

Dawson Springs was one of six western Kentucky communities, still recovering from the tornado that hit more than two weeks before last Christmas, to celebrate the event.

“I was very happy,” said Colton Richardson.

“To me, it’s a blessing for something like this,” added Casey Randolph, who also called it a blessing for him and his family after losing everything in the tornado.

“It, kind of, helps you through the tough times, it reminds you that there are people that still care, and hadn’t forgot the devastation that everybody went through,” he said.

The event also allowing people to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday more than five months earlier than scheduled.

“It’s bringing everybody close, especially on the spiritual side, and it’s wonderful thing to meet new people,” said Christiana Brownell.

While kids got new toys and shoes, some like Steeley’s granddaughter, Abbi, look forward more to being able to move into their rebuilt home.

“I’m hoping that I get moved in to the house,” she said.

Christmas in July will also be happening tomorrow for tornado survivors in Mayfield and Gilbertsville.

(This story was originally published on July 11, 2022)